1. Oceania – Oceania, also known as Oceanica, is a region centred on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. The term is used more specifically to denote a continent comprising Australia. The term was coined as Océanie circa 1812 by geographer Conrad Malte-Brun, the word Océanie is a French word derived from the Latin word oceanus, and this from the Greek word ὠκεανός, ocean. Natives and inhabitants of this region are called Oceanians or Oceanicans, as an ecozone, Oceania includes all of Micronesia, Fiji, and all of Polynesia except New Zealand. New Zealand, along with New Guinea and nearby islands, part of the Philippine islands, Australia, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, in geopolitical terms, however, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia are almost always considered part of Oceania. Australia and Papua New Guinea are usually considered part of Oceania along with the Maluku Islands, puncak Jaya in Papua is often considered the highest peak in Oceania. Oceania was originally conceived as the lands of the Pacific Ocean and it comprised four regions, Polynesia, Micronesia, Malaysia, and Melanesia. The area extends to Sumatra in the west, the Bonin Islands in the northwest, the Hawaiian Islands in the northeast, Rapa Nui and Sala y Gómez Island in the east, and Macquarie Island in the south. Not included are the Pacific islands of Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands and the Japanese archipelago, all on the margins of Asia, and the Aleutian Islands of North America. The islands at the extremes of Oceania are Bonin, a politically integral part of Japan, Hawaii, a state of the United States. There is also a geographic definition that excludes land on the Sunda Plate. Biogeographically, Oceania is used as a synonym for either the Australasian ecozone or the Pacific ecozone, Oceania is one of eight terrestrial ecozones, which constitute the major ecological regions of the planet. The Oceania ecozone includes all of Micronesia, Fiji, and all of Polynesia except New Zealand, New Zealand, New Guinea, Melanesia apart from Fiji, and Australia constitute the separate Australasian ecozone. The Malay Archipelago is part of the Indomalaya ecozone, related to these concepts are Near Oceania, that part of western Island Melanesia which has been inhabited for tens of millennia, and Remote Oceania which is more recently settled. The term is used to denote a continent comprising Australia. New Zealand forms the corner of the Polynesian Triangle. Its indigenous Māori constitute one of the cultures of Polynesia. It is also, however, considered part of Australasia, the history of Oceania in the medieval period was synonymous with the history of the indigenous peoples of Australasia, Micronesia, Melanesia, PolynesiaOceania – A map of Oceania from the CIA World Factbook
2. Sovereign state – A sovereign state is, in international law, a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and it is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state. The existence or disappearance of a state is a question of fact, States came into existence as people gradually transferred their allegiance from an individual sovereign to an intangible but territorial political entity, of the state. States are but one of political orders that emerged from feudal Europe, others being city states, leagues. Westphalian sovereignty is the concept of sovereignty based on territoriality. It is a system of states, multinational corporations. Sovereignty is a term that is frequently misused and that position was reflected and constituted in the notion that their sovereignty was either completely lacking, or at least of an inferior character when compared to that of civilised people. Lassa Oppenheim said There exists perhaps no conception the meaning of which is more controversial than that of sovereignty. It is a fact that this conception, from the moment when it was introduced into political science until the present day, has never had a meaning which was universally agreed upon. In the opinion of H. V. Evatt of the High Court of Australia, sovereignty is neither a question of fact, nor a question of law, but a question that does not arise at all. The right of nations to determine their own status and exercise permanent sovereignty within the limits of their territorial jurisdictions is widely recognized. The Westphalian model of sovereignty has increasingly come under fire from the non-west as a system imposed solely by Western Colonialism. What this model did was make religion a subordinate to politics and this system does not fit in the Islamic world because concepts such as separation of church and state and individual conscience are not recognised in the Islamic religion as social systems. Nation denotes a people who are believed to or deemed to share common customs, religion, language, origins, however, the adjectives national and international are frequently used to refer to matters pertaining to what are strictly sovereign states, as in national capital, international law. State refers to the set of governing and supportive institutions that have sovereignty over a definite territory, State recognition signifies the decision of a sovereign state to treat another entity as also being a sovereign state. Recognition can be expressed or implied and is usually retroactive in its effects. It does not necessarily signify a desire to establish or maintain diplomatic relations, There is no definition that is binding on all the members of the community of nations on the criteria for statehood. In actual practice, the criteria are mainly political, not legal, in international law, however, there are several theories of when a state should be recognised as sovereignSovereign state – Member states of the United Nations, all of which are sovereign states, though not all sovereign states are necessarily members
3. Australia – Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the worlds sixth-largest country by total area, the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east. Australias capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney, for about 50,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages classifiable into roughly 250 groups. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored, on 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states. The population of 24 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard, Australia has the worlds 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income. With the second-highest human development index globally, the country highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom. The name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis a name used for putative lands in the southern hemisphere since ancient times, the Dutch adjectival form Australische was used in a Dutch book in Batavia in 1638, to refer to the newly discovered lands to the south. On 12 December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted, in 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially as Australia. The first official published use of the term Australia came with the 1830 publication of The Australia Directory and these first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally horticulturists, the northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically by fishermen from Maritime Southeast Asia. The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch. The first ship and crew to chart the Australian coast and meet with Aboriginal people was the Duyfken captained by Dutch navigator, Willem Janszoon. He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606, the Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines and named the island continent New Holland during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement. William Dampier, an English explorer and privateer, landed on the north-west coast of New Holland in 1688, in 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain. The first settlement led to the foundation of Sydney, and the exploration, a British settlement was established in Van Diemens Land, now known as Tasmania, in 1803, and it became a separate colony in 1825. The United Kingdom formally claimed the part of Western Australia in 1828. Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales, South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, the Northern Territory was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South AustraliaAustralia – Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
4. Federated States of Micronesia – Together, the states comprise around 607 islands that cover a longitudinal distance of almost 2,700 km just north of the equator. While the FSMs total land area is small, it occupies more than 2,600,000 km2 of the Pacific Ocean. The capital is Palikir, located on Pohnpei Island, while the largest city is Weno, each of its four states is centered on one or more main high islands, and all but Kosrae include numerous outlying atolls. The Federated States of Micronesia is spread across part of the Caroline Islands in the region of Micronesia. The term Micronesia may refer to the Federated States or to the region as a whole, the FSM was formerly a part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a United Nations Trust Territory under U. S. Other neighboring island entities, and also members of the TTPI, formulated their own constitutional governments and became the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The FSM has a seat in the United Nations, the ancestors of the Micronesians settled over four thousand years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a centralized economic. Nan Madol, consisting of a series of artificial islands linked by a network of canals, is often called the Venice of the Pacific. European explorers—first the Portuguese in search of the Spice Islands and then the Spanish—reached the Carolines in the sixteenth century, the Spanish incorporated the archipelago to the Spanish East Indies and in the 19th century established a number of outposts and missions. In 1887, they founded the town of Santiago de la Ascension in what today is Kolonia on the island of Pohnpei, following defeat in the Spanish–American War, the Spanish sold the archipelago to Germany in 1899 under the German–Spanish Treaty of 1899. Germany incorporated it into German New Guinea, during World War I, it was captured by Japan. Following the war, the League of Nations awarded a mandate for Japan to administer the islands as part of the South Pacific Mandate, during World War II, a significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based in Truk Lagoon. In February 1944, Operation Hailstone, one of the most important naval battles of the war, took place at Truk, in which many Japanese support vessels and aircraft were destroyed. On May 10,1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States, independence was formally concluded under international law in 1990, when the United Nations officially ended the Trusteeship status pursuant to Security Council Resolution 683. The Compact was renewed in 2004, the Federated States of Micronesia is governed by the 1979 constitution, which guarantees fundamental human rights and establishes a separation of governmental powers. The unicameral Congress has fourteen members elected by popular vote, four senators—one from each state—serve four-year terms, the remaining ten senators represent single-member districts based on population, and serve two-year termsFederated States of Micronesia – Map of the Federated States of Micronesia.
5. Fiji – Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealands North Island. Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, the two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population of almost 860,000. The capital, Suva on Viti Levu, serves as Fijis principal cruise port, about three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levus coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres like Nadi or Lautoka. Viti Levus interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain, Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry. The countrys currency is the Fijian dollar, Fijis local government, in the form of city and town councils, is supervised by the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development. The majority of Fijis islands were formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago, today, some geothermal activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC, and was settled first by Austronesians and later by Melanesians, Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century, and, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874. Fiji was a Crown colony until 1970, when it gained independence as a Commonwealth realm, a republic was declared in 1987, following a series of coups détat. In a coup in 2006, Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power, later in 2009, Iloilo was replaced as President by Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. After years of delays, an election was held on 17 September 2014. Bainimaramas FijiFirst party won with 59. 2% of the vote, Fijis main island is known as Viti Levu and it is from this that the name Fiji is derived, though the common English pronunciation is based on that of their island neighbours in Tonga. Its emergence can be described as follows, Fijians first impressed themselves on European consciousness through the writings of the members of the expeditions of Cook who met them in Tonga. They were described as warriors and ferocious cannibals, builders of the finest vessels in the Pacific. They inspired awe amongst the Tongans, and all their Manufactures, especially bark cloth and clubs, were highly valued and much in demand. They called their home Viti, but the Tongans called it Fisi, and it was by this foreign pronunciation, Fiji, first promulgated by Captain James Cook, that these islands are now known. Feejee, the Anglicised spelling of the Tongan pronunciation, was used in accounts and other writings until the late 19th century, by missionaries and other travellers visiting Fiji. Pottery art from Fijian towns shows that Fiji was settled before or around 3500 to 1000 BC, the first settlements in Fiji were started by voyaging traders and settlers from the west about 5000 years agoFiji – Ratu Tanoa Visawaqa
6. Kiribati – Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean. The permanent population is just over 100,000, more than half of live on Tarawa Atoll. The nation comprises 33 atolls and reef islands and one raised coral island and they have a total land area of 800 square kilometres and are dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometers. Their spread straddles the equator and the 180th meridian, although the International Date Line is indented to bring the Line Islands in the day as the Kiribati Islands. The International Date Line circumscribes Kiribati by swinging far to the east, almost reaching the 150°W meridian, Kiribatis easternmost islands, the southern Line Islands south of Hawaii, have the most advanced time on Earth, UTC+14 hours. Kiribati became independent from the United Kingdom in 1979, the capital and now most populated area, South Tarawa, consists of a number of islets, connected by a series of causeways. These comprise about half the area of Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the IMF and the World Bank, and became a full member of the United Nations in 1999. The name Kiribati was adopted at independence and it is local enunciation of Gilberts. This name derives from the archipelago that forms the nation. It was named the Gilbert Islands after the British explorer Thomas Gilbert and he sighted many of the islands in 1788 while mapping out the Outer Passage route from Port Jackson to Canton. The Kiribati archipelago was named Îles Gilbert, in about 1820, by Russian admiral Adam von Krusenstern, both their maps, published in 1820, were written in French. The archipelagos name was incorporated in the entire Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony from 1916, the spelling of Gilberts in the Gilbertese language as Kiribati may be found in books in Gilbertese prepared by missionaries and others. It is often suggested that the name for the Gilbert Islands proper is Tungaru. The pronunciation differs, Kiribas is the pronunciation as ti in Kiribatese makes an s sound. The area now called Kiribati has been inhabited by Micronesians speaking the same Oceanic language since sometime between 3000 BC and AD1300, the area was not isolated, invaders from Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji, later introduced Polynesian and Melanesian cultural aspects, respectively. Intermarriage tended to blur cultural differences and resulted in a significant degree of cultural homogenisation, chance visits by European ships occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries, as these ships attempted circumnavigations of the world or sought sailing routes from the south to north Pacific Ocean. The passing trade gave rise to European, Chinese, Samoan and other residents from the 1830s, they included beachcombers, castaways, traders and missionaries. In 1892 local authorities on each of the Gilbert Islands agreed to Captain Davis RN declaring them part of a British protectorate with the nearby Ellice IslandsKiribati – Stamp with portrait of King George VI, 1939
7. Marshall Islands – The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is an island country located near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line. Geographically, the country is part of the island group of Micronesia. The countrys population of 53,158 people is spread out over 29 coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north, Kiribati to the south-east, about 27,797 of the islanders live on Majuro, which contains the capital. Micronesian colonists gradually settled the Marshall Islands during the 2nd millennium BC, Islands in the archipelago were first explored by Europeans in the 1520s, with Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar sighting an atoll in August 1526. Other expeditions by Spanish and English ships followed, the islands derive their name from British explorer John Marshall, who visited in 1788. The islands were known by the inhabitants as jolet jen Anij. The European powers recognized Spanish sovereignty over the islands in 1874 and they had been part of the Spanish East Indies formally since 1528. Later, Spain sold the islands to the German Empire in 1884, in World War I the Empire of Japan occupied the Marshall Islands, which in 1919 the League of Nations combined with other former German territories to form the South Pacific Mandate. In World War II, the United States conquered the islands in the Gilbert, along with other Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands were then consolidated into the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands governed by the US. Self-government was achieved in 1979, and full sovereignty in 1986, Marshall Islands has been a United Nations member state since 1991. The country uses the United States dollar as its currency, the majority of the citizens of the Marshall Islands are of Marshallese descent, though there are small numbers of immigrants from the United States, China, Philippines, and other Pacific islands. The two official languages are Marshallese, which is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, and English, micronesians settled the Marshall Islands in the 2nd millennium BC, but there are no historical or oral records of that period. Over time, the Marshall Island people learned to navigate over long distances by canoe using traditional stick charts. Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar was the first European to see the islands in 1526, commanding the ship Santa Maria de la Victoria, on August 21, he sighted an island at 14°N that he named San Bartolome. On September 21,1529, Álvaro de Saavedra Cerón commanded the Spanish ship Florida and he stood off a group of islands from which local inhabitants hurled stones at his ship. These islands, which he named Los Pintados, may have been Ujelang, on October 1, he found another group of islands where he went ashore for eight days, exchanged gifts with the local inhabitants and took on water. These islands, which he named Los Jardines, may have been Enewetak or Bikini AtollMarshall Islands – Marshall Islanders sailing in traditional costume, circa 1899-1900.
8. Nauru – Nauru, officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the Central Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati,300 kilometres to the east and it further lies northwest of Tuvalu, north of the Solomon Islands, east-northeast of Papua New Guinea, southeast of the Federated States of Micronesia and south of the Marshall Islands. With 10,084 residents in a 21-square-kilometre area, Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and third smallest state by area in the world, behind only Vatican City and Monaco. Settled by native peoples from Micronesia and Polynesia, Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century, after World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops, after the war ended, the country entered into UN trusteeship. Nauru gained its independence in 1968, Nauru is a phosphate rock island with rich deposits near the surface, which allowed easy strip mining operations. It has some remaining phosphate resources which, as of 2011, are not economically viable for extraction, Nauru boasted the highest per-capita income enjoyed by any sovereign state in the world during the late 1960s and early 1970s. When the phosphate reserves were exhausted, and the environment had been seriously harmed by mining. To earn income, Nauru briefly became a tax haven and illegal money laundering centre, from 2001 to 2008, and again from 2012, it accepted aid from the Australian Government in exchange for hosting the Nauru detention centre. As a result of dependence on Australia, many sources have identified Nauru as a client state of Australia. Nauru was first inhabited by Micronesians and Polynesians at least 3,000 years ago, there were traditionally 12 clans or tribes on Nauru, which are represented in the 12-pointed star on the countrys flag. Traditionally, Nauruans traced their descent matrilineally, inhabitants practised aquaculture, they caught juvenile ibija fish, acclimatised them to fresh water, and raised them in the Buada Lagoon, providing a reliable source of food. The other locally grown components of their diet included coconuts and pandanus fruit, the name Nauru may derive from the Nauruan word Anáoero, which means I go to the beach. The British sea captain John Fearn, a hunter, became the first Westerner to visit Nauru in 1798. From around 1830, Nauruans had contact with Europeans from whaling ships, around this time, deserters from European ships began to live on the island. The islanders traded food for alcoholic palm wine and firearms, the firearms were used during the 10-year Nauruan Tribal War that began in 1878. After an agreement with Great Britain, Nauru was annexed by Germany in 1888, the arrival of the Germans ended the civil war, and kings were established as rulers of the island. The most widely known of these was King Auweyida, christian missionaries from the Gilbert Islands arrived in 1888Nauru – A Nauruan warrior, 1880.
9. New Zealand – New Zealand /njuːˈziːlənd/ is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu—and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, the countrys varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealands capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland, sometime between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that later were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand, in 1840, representatives of Britain and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire, today, the majority of New Zealands population of 4.7 million is of European descent, the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealands culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, New Zealand is a developed country and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Since the 1980s, New Zealand has transformed from an agrarian, Queen Elizabeth II is the countrys head of state and is represented by a governor-general. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes, the Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau, the Cook Islands and Niue, and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealands territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and called it Staten Landt, in 1645, Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand, Aotearoa is the current Māori name for New Zealand. It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the country before the arrival of Europeans. Māori had several names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui for the North Island and Te Waipounamu or Te Waka o Aoraki for the South Island. Early European maps labelled the islands North, Middle and South, in 1830, maps began to use North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907, this was the accepted norm. The New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised and this set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, and South Island or Te WaipounamuNew Zealand – The Waitangi sheet from the Treaty of Waitangi
10. Palau – Palau, officially the Republic of Palau, is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. The country contains approximately 250 islands, forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia, the most populous island is Koror. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the island of Babeldaob. Palau shares maritime boundaries with Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia, the country was originally settled approximately 3,000 years ago by migrants from the Philippines and sustained a Negrito population until around 900 years ago. The islands were first explored by Europeans in the 16th century, the Imperial Japanese Navy conquered Palau during World War I, and the islands were later made a part of the Japanese-ruled South Pacific Mandate by the League of Nations. During World War II, skirmishes, including the major Battle of Peleliu, were fought between American and Japanese troops as part of the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign. Along with other Pacific Islands, Palau was made a part of the United States-governed Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947. Having voted against joining the Federated States of Micronesia in 1979, politically, Palau is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, which provides defense, funding, and access to social services. Legislative power is concentrated in the bicameral Palau National Congress, Palaus economy is based mainly on tourism, subsistence agriculture and fishing, with a significant portion of gross national product derived from foreign aid. The country uses the United States dollar as its currency, the islands culture mixes Micronesian, Melanesian, Asian, and Western elements. Ethnic Palauans, the majority of the population, are of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian, a smaller proportion of the population is descended from Japanese and Filipino settlers. The countrys two official languages are Palauan and English, with Japanese, Sonsorolese, and Tobian recognised as regional languages. The name for the islands in the Palauan language, Belau, likely derives from either the Palauan word for village, beluu, or from aibebelau, the name Palau entered the English language from the Spanish Los Palaos, via the German Palau. An archaic name for the islands in English was the Pelew Islands and it should not be confused with Pulau, which is a Malay word meaning island. Palau was originally settled between the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC, most likely from the Austronesia or Indonesia, the islands sustained a population of short-statured Negrito or Pygmy people until the 12th century, when they were replaced. The modern population, judging by its language, may have come from the Sunda Islands, however, the Spanish presence only began to express with evangelization, began at the end of 17th century, and its dominance began to take shape in the 18th century. The conscious discovery of Palau came a century later in 1697 and they were interviewed by the Czech missionary Paul Klein on 28 December 1696. Klein was able to draw the first map of Palau based on the Palauans representation of their home islands that made with an arrangement of 87 pebbles on the beachPalau – Map of 1888 showing the Spanish East Indies, being part of it Palau Islands (map without Philippines)
11. Papua New Guinea – Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua, Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. There are 852 known languages in the country, of which 12 have no known living speakers, most of the population of more than 7 million people live in customary communities, which are as diverse as the languages. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18 percent of its live in urban centres. The country is one of the worlds least explored, culturally and geographically and it is known to have numerous groups of uncontacted peoples, and researchers believe there are many undiscovered species of plants and animals in the interior. Papua New Guinea is classified as an economy by the International Monetary Fund. Strong growth in Papua New Guineas mining and resource sector led to the becoming the sixth fastest-growing economy in the world in 2011. Growth was expected to slow once major resource projects came on line in 2015, mining remains a major economic factor, however. Local and national governments are discussing the potential of resuming mining operations in Panguna mine in Bougainville Province, nearly 40 percent of the population lives a self-sustainable natural lifestyle with no access to global capital. Most of the still live in strong traditional social groups based on farming. Their social lives combine traditional religion with modern practices, including primary education, at the national level, after being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea established its sovereignty in 1975. This followed nearly 60 years of Australian administration, which started during the Great War and it became an independent Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in its own right. Archaeological evidence indicates that humans first arrived in Papua New Guinea around 42,000 to 45,000 years ago and they were descendants of migrants out of Africa, in one of the early waves of human migration. Agriculture was independently developed in the New Guinea highlands around 7000 BC, a major migration of Austronesian-speaking peoples to coastal regions of New Guinea took place around 500 BC. This has been correlated with the introduction of pottery, pigs, in the 18th century, traders brought the sweet potato to New Guinea, where it was adopted and became part of the staples. Portuguese traders had obtained it from South America and introduced it to the Moluccas, the far higher crop yields from sweet potato gardens radically transformed traditional agriculture and societies. Sweet potato largely supplanted the previous staple, taro, and resulted in a significant increase in population in the highlands. In 1901, on Goaribari Island in the Gulf of Papua, missionary Harry Dauncey found 10,000 skulls in the islands Long Houses, traders from Southeast Asia had visited New Guinea beginning 5,000 years ago to collect bird of paradise plumesPapua New Guinea – Kerepunu villagers, British New Guinea, 1885.
12. Samoa – The Independent State of Samoa, commonly known as Samoa and, until 1997, known as Western Samoa, is a unitary parliamentary democracy with eleven administrative divisions. The two main islands are Savaii and Upolu with four smaller islands surrounding the landmasses, the Lapita people discovered and settled the Samoan islands around 3,500 years ago. They developed a language and cultural identity. Samoa is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Western Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, which includes American Samoa, was called Navigator Islands by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans seafaring skills. The oldest date so far for remains in Samoa has been calculated by New Zealand scientists to a true age of circa 3,000 years ago from a Lapita site at Mulifanua during the 1970s. The origins of the Samoans are closely studied in research about Polynesia in various scientific disciplines such as genetics, linguistics. Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century, jacob Roggeveen, a Dutchman, was the first known European to sight the Samoan islands in 1722. This visit was followed by French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who named them the Navigator Islands in 1768, contact was limited before the 1830s, which is when English missionaries and traders began arriving. Christian missionary work in Samoa began in 1830 by John Williams, of the London Missionary Society arriving in Sapapalii from The Cook Islands and Tahiti. However, Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa from 1889 until his death in 1894, wrote in A Footnote to History, Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa, … the Samoans are gentle people. The Germans in particular began to show great commercial interest in the Samoan Islands, especially on the island of Upolu, Britain also sent troops to protect British business enterprise, harbour rights, and consulate office. This was followed by a civil war, during which each of the three powers supplied arms, training and in some cases combat troops to the warring Samoan parties. The Samoan crisis came to a critical juncture in March 1889 when all three colonial contenders sent warships into Apia harbour, and a larger-scale war seemed imminent, a massive storm on 15 March 1889 damaged or destroyed the warships, ending the military conflict. The Second Samoan Civil War reached a head in 1898 when Germany, the United Kingdom, the Siege of Apia occurred in March 1899. Samoan forces loyal to Prince Tanu were besieged by a force of Samoan rebels loyal to Mataafa Iosefo. Supporting Prince Tanu were landing parties from four British and American warships, after several days of fighting, the Samoan rebels were finally defeated. American and British warships shelled Apia on 15 March 1899, including the USS Philadelphia, the eastern island-group became a territory of the United States and was known as American SamoaSamoa – Studio photo depicting preparation of the Samoa 'ava ceremony c. 1911.
13. Solomon Islands – The countrys capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. The islands have been inhabited for thousands of years, in 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit them, naming them the Islas Salomón. Britain defined its area of interest in the Solomon Islands archipelago in June 1893, during World War II, the Solomon Islands campaign saw fierce fighting between the United States and the Empire of Japan, such as in the Battle of Guadalcanal. The official name of the then British overseas territory was changed from the British Solomon Islands Protectorate to Solomon Islands in 1975, self-government was achieved in 1976, independence was obtained two years later. Today, Solomon Islands is a monarchy with the Queen of Solomon Islands, currently Queen Elizabeth II. Manasseh Sogavare is the current prime minister, in 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit the Solomon Islands archipelago, naming it Islas Salomón after the wealthy biblical King Solomon. It is said that they were given name in the mistaken assumption that they contained great riches. During most of the period of British rule the territory was named the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. On 22 June 1975 the territory was renamed Solomon Islands, when Solomon Islands became independent in 1978 they retained the name. The definite article, the, is not part of the official name but is sometimes used. It is believed that Papuan-speaking settlers began to arrive around 30,000 BC, austronesian speakers arrived c.4000 BC also bringing cultural elements such as the outrigger canoe. Between 1200 and 800 BC the ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people, the first European to visit the islands was the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, coming from Peru in 1568. The people of Solomon Islands were notorious for headhunting and cannibalism before the arrival of the Europeans, missionaries began visiting the Solomons in the mid-19th century. They made little progress at first, because blackbirding led to a series of reprisals, the evils of the labour trade prompted the United Kingdom to declare a protectorate over the southern Solomons in June 1893. Traditional trade and social intercourse between the western Solomon Islands of Mono and Alu and the societies in the south of Bougainville, however. Missionaries settled in the Solomons under the protectorate, converting most of the population to Christianity, in the early 20th century several British and Australian firms began large-scale coconut planting. Economic growth was slow, however, and the islanders benefited little, journalist Joe Melvin visited in 1892, as part of his undercover investigation into blackbirding. In 1908 the islands were visited by Jack London, who was cruising the Pacific on his boat, with the outbreak of the Second World War most planters and traders were evacuated to Australia and most cultivation ceasedSolomon Islands
14. Tonga – Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago comprising 169 islands of which 36 are inhabited. The total surface area is about 750 square kilometres scattered over 700,000 square kilometres of the southern Pacific Ocean and it has a population of 103,000 people of whom 70% reside on the main island of Tongatapu. Tonga stretches across approximately 800 kilometres in a north-south line and it is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna to the northwest, Samoa to the northeast, Niue to the east, Kermadec to the southwest, and New Caledonia and Vanuatu to the farther west. Tonga became known in the West as the Friendly Islands because of the reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773. He arrived at the time of the festival, the yearly donation of the First Fruits to the Tuʻi Tonga. According to the writer William Mariner, the wanted to kill Cook during the gathering. From 1900 to 1970, Tonga had British protected state status, the country never relinquished its sovereignty to any foreign power. In many Polynesian languages including Tongan, the word tonga means south, the name of Tonga is cognate to the Hawaiian region of Kona. In Malay, the name of Tonga is also cognate to the word Tenggara, an Austronesian-speaking group linked to the archaeological construct known as the Lapita cultural complex reached and inhabited Tonga around 1500–1000 BCE. Scholars have much debated the exact dates of the settlement of Tonga. Not much is known before European contact because of the lack of a writing system, in the 15th century and again in the 17th, civil war erupted. The Tongan people first encountered Europeans in 1616 when the Dutch vessel Eendracht, captained by Willem Schouten, later came other Dutch explorers, including Jacob Le Maire, and in 1643 Abel Tasman. In 1845, the young warrior, strategist, and orator Tāufaʻāhau united Tonga into a kingdom. He held the title of Tuʻi Kanokupolu, but had been baptised by Methodist missionaries with the name Siaosi in 1831. Tonga became a state under a Treaty of Friendship with Britain on 18 May 1900. The treaty posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga than a British Consul, under the protection of Britain, Tonga maintained its sovereignty, and remained the only Pacific nation to retain its monarchical government. The Tongan monarchy follows a succession of hereditary rulers from one family. The 1918 flu pandemic, brought to Tonga by a ship from New Zealand, killed 1,800 Tongans, the Treaty of Friendship and Tongas protection status ended in 1970 under arrangements established by Queen Salote Tupou III prior to her death in 1965Tonga – The arrival of Abel Tasman in Tongatapu, 1643, drawing by Isaack Gilsemans.
15. Tuvalu – It comprises three reef islands and six true atolls spread out between the latitude of 5° to 10° south and longitude of 176° to 180°, west of the International Date Line. Tuvalu has a population of 10,640, the total land area of the islands of Tuvalu is 26 square kilometres. The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesians, in 1568, Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to sail through the archipelago, sighting the island of Nui during his expedition in search of Terra Australis. In 1819 the island of Funafuti was named Ellices Island, the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands after the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findlay. A referendum was held in December 1974 to determine whether the Gilbert Islands, as a consequence of the referendum, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony ceased to exist on 1 January 1976 and the separate British colonies of Kiribati and Tuvalu came into existence. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 1 October 1978, on 5 September 2000 Tuvalu became the 189th member of the United Nations. The origins of the people of Tuvalu are addressed in the theories regarding migration into the Pacific that began about 3000 years ago, during pre-European-contact times there was frequent canoe voyaging between the nearer islands including Samoa and Tonga. Eight of the nine islands of Tuvalu were inhabited, thus the name, Tuvalu, possible evidence of fire in the Caves of Nanumanga may indicate human occupation for thousands of years. The stories as to the ancestors of the Tuvaluans vary from island to island, on Niutao, Funafuti and Vaitupu the founding ancestor is described as being from Samoa, whereas on Nanumea the founding ancestor is described as being from Tonga. Mendaña made contact with the islanders but was unable to land, during Mendañas second voyage across the Pacific he passed Niulakita on 29 August 1595, which he named La Solitaria. Captain John Byron passed through the islands of Tuvalu in 1764 during his circumnavigation of the globe as captain of the Dolphin, Byron charted the atolls as Lagoon Islands. Chambers and Doug Munro identified Niutao as the island that Francisco Mourelle de la Rúa sailed past on 5 May 1781, mourelles map and journal named the island El Gran Cocal, however, the latitude and longitude was uncertain. Longitude could only be reckoned crudely as accurate chronometers were unavailable until the late 18th century, the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands after the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findlay. In 1820 the Russian explorer Mikhail Lazarev visited Nukufetau as commander of the Mirny, Louis Isidore Duperrey, captain of La Coquille, sailed past Nanumanga in May 1824 during a circumnavigation of the earth. A Dutch expedition found Nui on the morning of 14 June 1825, whalers began roving the Pacific, although visiting Tuvalu only infrequently because of the difficulties of landing on the atolls. Captain George Barrett of the Nantucket whaler Independence II has been identified as the first whaler to hunt the waters around Tuvalu, in November 1821 he bartered coconuts from the people of Nukulaelae and also visited Niulakita. A shore camp was established on Sakalua islet of Nukufetau, where coal was used to melt down the whale blubber, the Rev. A. W. Elekana began proselytising Christianity. He was trained at Malua Theological College, a London Missionary Society school in Samoa, in 1865 the Rev. A. W. Murray of the LMS – a Protestant congregationalist missionary society – arrived as the first European missionary where he too proselytised among the inhabitants of TuvaluTuvalu – Lat. and Long. 8°19′S 179°08′E / 8.32°S 179.13°E / -8.32; 179.13 (Funafuti)
16. Vanuatu – Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is a Pacific island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people, the first Europeans to visit the islands were a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Fernandes de Queirós, who arrived on the largest island in 1606. An independence movement arose in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980, Vanuatus name is derived from the word vanua, which occurs in several Austronesian languages, and the word tu. Together the two indicated the independent status of the new country. The prehistory of Vanuatu is obscure, archaeological evidence supports the theory that people speaking Austronesian languages first came to the islands about 3,300 years ago, pottery fragments have been found dating to 1300–1100 BC. The Spanish established a settlement at Big Bay on the north side of the island. The name Espiritu Santo remains to this day, Europeans did not return until 1768, when Louis Antoine de Bougainville rediscovered the islands. In 1774, Captain Cook named the islands the New Hebrides, during the 1860s, planters in Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Samoa Islands, in need of labourers, encouraged a long-term indentured labour trade called blackbirding. At the height of the trade, more than one-half the adult male population of several of the islands worked abroad. Fragmentary evidence indicates that the current population of Vanuatu is greatly reduced compared to pre-contact times, in the 19th century, Catholic and Protestant missionaries from Europe and North America went to the islands to work with the people. John Gibson Paton was a Scottish missionary who devoted his life to the region, settlers came looking for land on which to establish cotton plantations. When international cotton prices collapsed, planters switched to coffee, cocoa, bananas, initially, British subjects from Australia made up the majority of settlers, but the establishment of the Caledonian Company of the New Hebrides in 1882 attracted more French subjects. By the start of the 20th century, the French outnumbered the British two to one, the jumbling of French and British interests in the islands brought petitions for one or another of the two powers to annex the territory. In 1906, France and the United Kingdom agreed to administer the islands jointly, called the Anglo-French Condominium, it was a unique form of government. The separate governmental systems came together only in a joint court, melanesians were barred from acquiring the citizenship of either power. Challenges to this form of government began in the early 1940s, the arrival of Americans during the Second World War, with their informal habits and relative wealth, contributed to the rise of nationalism in the islands. The belief in a messianic figure named John Frum was the basis for an indigenous cargo cult promising Melanesian deliverance. Today, John Frum is both a religion and a party with a member in ParliamentVanuatu – James Cook landing at Tanna island, c. 1774
17. Chile – Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres of Antarctica, the arid Atacama Desert in northern Chile contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes, the southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. Spain conquered and colonized Chile in the century, replacing Inca rule in northern and central Chile. After declaring its independence from Spain in 1818, Chile emerged in the 1830s as a relatively stable authoritarian republic, in the 1960s and 1970s the country experienced severe left-right political polarization and turmoil. The regime, headed by Augusto Pinochet, ended in 1990 after it lost a referendum in 1988 and was succeeded by a coalition which ruled through four presidencies until 2010. Chile is today one of South Americas most stable and prosperous nations and it leads Latin American nations in rankings of human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, state of peace, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. It also ranks high regionally in sustainability of the state, Chile is a founding member of the United Nations, the Union of South American Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile, another theory points to the similarity of the valley of the Aconcagua with that of the Casma Valley in Peru, where there was a town and valley named Chili. Another origin attributed to chilli is the onomatopoeic cheele-cheele—the Mapuche imitation of the warble of a locally known as trile. The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas, ultimately, Almagro is credited with the universalization of the name Chile, after naming the Mapocho valley as such. The older spelling Chili was in use in English until at least 1900 before switching over to Chile, stone tool evidence indicates humans sporadically frequented the Monte Verde valley area as long as 18,500 years ago. About 10,000 years ago, migrating Native Americans settled in fertile valleys, settlement sites from very early human habitation include Monte Verde, Cueva del Milodon and the Pali Aike Craters lava tube. They fought against the Sapa Inca Tupac Yupanqui and his army, the result of the bloody three-day confrontation known as the Battle of the Maule was that the Inca conquest of the territories of Chile ended at the Maule river. The next Europeans to reach Chile were Diego de Almagro and his band of Spanish conquistadors, the Spanish encountered various cultures that supported themselves principally through slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. The conquest of Chile began in earnest in 1540 and was carried out by Pedro de Valdivia, one of Francisco Pizarros lieutenants, who founded the city of Santiago on 12 February 1541. Although the Spanish did not find the gold and silver they sought, they recognized the agricultural potential of Chiles central valleyChile – The Mapuche people were the original inhabitants of southern and central Chile.
18. Easter Island – Easter Island is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, in 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park. However, human activity, the introduction of the Polynesian rat, by the time of European arrival in 1722, the islands population had dropped to 2, 000–3,000 from an estimated high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier. European diseases and Peruvian slave raiding in the 1860s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Easter Island is a territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888. Administratively, it belongs to the Valparaíso Region, and, more specifically, according to the 2012 Chilean census, the island has about 5,800 residents, of whom some 60 percent are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui. Easter Island is considered part of Insular Chile, the islands official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means Easter Island. However, Norwegian ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl argued that Rapa was the name of Easter Island. William Churchill inquired about the phrase and was told there were three te pito o te henua, these being the three capes of the island. The phrase appears to have used in the same sense as the designation of Lands End at the tip of Cornwall. He was unable to elicit a Polynesian name for the island itself, according to Barthel, oral tradition has it that the island was first named Te pito o te kainga a Hau Maka The little piece of land of Hau Maka. However, there are two words pronounced pito in Rapa Nui, one meaning end and one navel, and the phrase can also mean the Navel of the World. This was apparently its actual meaning, French ethnologist Alphonse Pinart gave it the actual translation the Navel of the World, another name, Mata ki te rangi, means Eyes looking to the sky. Islanders are referred to in Spanish as pascuense, however it is common to refer to members of the community as Rapa Nui. Estimated dates of initial settlement of Easter Island have ranged from 300 to 1200, rectifications in radiocarbon dating have changed almost all of the previously posited early settlement dates in Polynesia. Rapa Nui is now considered to have settled in the narrower range of 700 to 1100 CE. Significant ecological impacts and major cultural investments in monumental architecture and statuary thus began soon after initial settlement, according to oral tradition, the first settlement was at Anakena. The island was most likely populated by Polynesians who navigated in canoes or catamarans from the Gambier Islands or the Marquesas Islands,3,200 km awayEaster Island – UNESCO World Heritage Site
19. Indonesia – Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a unitary sovereign state and transcontinental country located mainly in Southeast Asia with some territories in Oceania. Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is the worlds largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands. At 1,904,569 square kilometres, Indonesia is the worlds 14th-largest country in terms of area and worlds 7th-largest country in terms of combined sea. It has an population of over 260 million people and is the worlds fourth most populous country. The worlds most populous island, Java, contains more than half of the countrys population, Indonesias republican form of government includes an elected legislature and president. Indonesia has 34 provinces, of which five have Special Administrative status and its capital and countrys most populous city is Jakarta, which is also the most populous city in Southeast Asia and the second in Asia. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, other neighbouring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the second highest level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper, agriculture mainly produces rice, palm oil, tea, coffee, cacao, medicinal plants, spices and rubber. Indonesias major trading partners are Japan, United States, China, the Indonesian archipelago has been an important region for trade since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with China and India. Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries CE, Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Indonesia consists of hundreds of native ethnic and linguistic groups. The largest – and politically dominant – ethnic group are the Javanese, a shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesias national motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, articulates the diversity that shapes the country, Indonesias economy is the worlds 16th largest by nominal GDP and the 8th largest by GDP at PPP, the largest in Southeast Asia, and is considered an emerging market and newly industrialised country. Indonesia has been a member of the United Nations since 1950, Indonesia is a member of the G20 major economies and World Trade Organization. The name Indonesia derives from the Greek name of the Indós, the name dates to the 18th century, far predating the formation of independent Indonesia. In 1850, George Windsor Earl, an English ethnologist, proposed the terms Indunesians—and, his preference, in the same publication, one of his students, James Richardson Logan, used Indonesia as a synonym for Indian Archipelago. However, Dutch academics writing in East Indies publications were reluctant to use Indonesia, they preferred Malay Archipelago, the Netherlands East Indies, popularly Indië, the East, and InsulindeIndonesia – A Borobudur ship carved on Borobudur, c. 800 CE. Indonesian outrigger boats may have made trade voyages to the east coast of Africa as early as the 1st century CE.
20. West Papua (province) – West Papua is a province of Indonesia. It covers the two peninsulas of the island of New Guinea. Its capital is Manokwari, although the largest city is Sorong, and the 2010 census recorded a population of 760,855, the latest official estimate is 877,437. West Papua Province was created from the portion of Papua in February 2003, initially under the name of West Irian Jaya. The province covers the Birds Head and Bomberai peninsulas and the islands of Raja Ampat. With a population of 877,437 in 2014, it is the least populous province of Indonesia except for the newly created province of North Kalimantan, even after Indonesias independence in 1945, Papua and Irian Jaya were retained by the Dutch for various reasons. However, Indonesia claimed all of the territory of the former Dutch East Indies, including the Dutch New Guinea holdings and this vote was referred to as the Act of Free Choice. But, the vote was in fact conducted by consensus decision-making, or consensus of elders and this body was coerced into unanimously voting to remain part of Indonesia, the territory was named as the province of Irian Jaya, later Papua. The result of the vote was rejected by Papuan nationalists. The independence movement for West Papua has continued, primarily through peaceful protest and international pressure, West Papua was created from the western portion of Papua province in February 2003, initially under the name of Irian Jaya Barat, it was later renamed Papua Barat on 7 February 2007. In November 2004, an Indonesian court agreed that the split violated Papuas autonomy laws, however, the court ruled that because the new province had already been created, it should remain separate from Papua. The ruling also prohibited the creation of another proposed province, Central Irian Jaya, the split is in line with the general trend of provincial splits that is occurring in all parts of Indonesia in the post-Suharto era. The province changed its name to West Papua on 7 February 2007, in 2000 the areas now forming West Papua province consisted of three regencies – Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak. By 2010 the province was divided into ten regencies and one autonomous city. Two new regencies have since created, all the existing regencies and city are listed below with their populations at the 2010 Census. * The areas and 2014 population of Arfak Mountains and South Manokwari Regencies are included in the figures for Manokwari Regency, the 2010 Census figures quoted above for all four of these regencies relate to their area as established in 2010. On 25 October 2013 the Indonesian House of Representatives began reviewing draft laws on the establishment of 57 prospective regencies/cities, poisoned Arrows, An investigative journey through the forbidden lands of West PapuaWest Papua (province) – Raja Ampat Islands
21. Papua (province) – Special Region of Papua is the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia, comprising most of western New Guinea. Papua is bordered by the nation of Papua New Guinea to the east and it was formerly called Irian Jaya and comprised all of Indonesian New Guinea. In 2002 the current name was adopted and in 2003 West Papua province was created from parts of Papua province. Papua is the official Indonesian and internationally recognised name for the province, during the Dutch colonial era the region was known as part of Dutch New Guinea or Netherlands New Guinea. Since its annexation in 1969, it known as West Irian or Irian Barat until 1973. This was the name until the name Papua was adopted in 2002. Today, the inhabitants of this province prefer to call themselves Papuans. The name West Papua was adopted in 1961 by the New Guinea Council until the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority transferred administration to the Republic of Indonesia in 1963. West Papua has since used by Papuans as a self-identifying term, especially by those demanding self-determination. The other Indonesian province that shares New Guinea, West Irian Jaya, has been renamed as West Papua. The entire western New Guinea is often referred to as West Papua internationally – especially among networks of solidarity with the West Papuan independence movement. The province of Papua is governed by an elected governor. Nevertheless, the agreement with the UN was nominally upheld, and was recognised by the community in spite of protests. This intensified the movement among indigenous West Papuans, deepening the Papua conflict. The conflict has continued to the present, with Indonesian security forces being accused of human rights abuses in their suppression of the independence movement. The Indonesian government maintains control over the region, barring foreign journalists or rights monitors from entering. In 1999 it was proposed to split the province into three government-controlled sectors, sparking Papuan protests, in January 2003 President Megawati Sukarnoputri signed an order dividing Papua into three provinces, Central Irian Jaya, Papua, and West Papua. The creation of this separate Central Irian Jaya Province was blocked by Indonesian courts, the previous division into two provinces was allowed to stand as an established factPapua (province) – Peak of Puncak Jaya
22. Japan – Japan is a sovereign island nation in Eastern Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asia Mainland and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea, the kanji that make up Japans name mean sun origin. 日 can be read as ni and means sun while 本 can be read as hon, or pon, Japan is often referred to by the famous epithet Land of the Rising Sun in reference to its Japanese name. Japan is an archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, the country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions. Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one, the population of 127 million is the worlds tenth largest. Japanese people make up 98. 5% of Japans total population, approximately 9.1 million people live in the city of Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Archaeological research indicates that Japan was inhabited as early as the Upper Paleolithic period, the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other regions, mainly China, followed by periods of isolation, from the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shoguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a period of isolation in the early 17th century. The Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan is a member of the UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the country has the worlds third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the worlds fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the worlds fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer, although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern military with the worlds eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a country with a very high standard of living. Its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, in ancient China, Japan was called Wo 倭. It was mentioned in the third century Chinese historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms in the section for the Wei kingdom, Wa became disliked because it has the connotation of the character 矮, meaning dwarf. The 倭 kanji has been replaced with the homophone Wa, meaning harmony, the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, which is pronounced Nippon or Nihon and literally means the origin of the sun. The earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, at the start of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan introduced their country as NihonJapan – The Golden Hall and five-storey pagoda of Hōryū-ji, among the oldest wooden buildings in the world, National Treasures, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
23. Ogasawara, Tokyo – Ogasawara is a village in Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan, that governs the Bonin Islands, Volcano Islands and three remote islands. 700 km further south is Okino Torishima, and 1,900 km further east is Minamitorishima, the population of the municipality resides on Chichi-jima and Haha-jima. The administration and village hall is located in the village of Omura on Chichi-jima, in addition, there is an air base with 400 soldiers on Iwojima of the Volcano Islands. Ogasawara Village operates the public elementary and junior high schools. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education operates Ogasawara High School on Chichi-jima, Tokyo portal Official website Ogasawara subtropical moist forests. The Bonin Islands Language and Culture Site at the Wayback Machine Ogasawara Channel website Ogasawara-mura maps/photos – Tokyo Metropolitan GovernmentOgasawara, Tokyo – Port of Futami, Chichi-jima
24. United States – Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east, the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean, the geography, climate and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse. At 3.8 million square miles and with over 324 million people, the United States is the worlds third- or fourth-largest country by area, third-largest by land area. It is one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century, the United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the following the Seven Years War led to the American Revolution. On July 4,1776, during the course of the American Revolutionary War, the war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by Great Britain, representing the first successful war of independence against a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the end of slavery in the country. By the end of century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the status as a global military power. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the sole superpower. The U. S. is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States. The United States is a developed country, with the worlds largest economy by nominal GDP. It ranks highly in several measures of performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP. While the U. S. economy is considered post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge economy, the United States is a prominent political and cultural force internationally, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo VespucciUnited States – Native Americans meeting with Europeans, 1764
25. Hawaii – Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state to have joined the United States of America, having received statehood on August 21,1959. Hawaii is the only U. S. state located in Oceania and it is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is the only U. S. state not located in the Americas, the state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian archipelago, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles. At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight main islands are—in order from northwest to southeast, Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and the Island of Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group, it is called the Big Island or Hawaiʻi Island to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania, Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U. S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaii is the 8th-smallest and the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the fifty U. S. states. It is the state with an Asian plurality. The states coastline is about 750 miles long, the fourth longest in the U. S. after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida, the state of Hawaii derives its name from the name of its largest island, Hawaiʻi. A common Hawaiian explanation of the name of Hawaiʻi is that was named for Hawaiʻiloa and he is said to have discovered the islands when they were first settled. The Hawaiian language word Hawaiʻi is very similar to Proto-Polynesian *Sawaiki, cognates of Hawaiʻi are found in other Polynesian languages, including Māori, Rarotongan and Samoan. According to linguists Pukui and Elbert, lsewhere in Polynesia, Hawaiʻi or a cognate is the name of the underworld or of the home, but in Hawaii. A somewhat divisive political issue arose in 1978 when the Constitution of the State of Hawaii added Hawaiian as an official state language. The title of the constitution is The Constitution of the State of Hawaii. Article XV, Section 1 of the Constitution uses The State of Hawaii, diacritics were not used because the document, drafted in 1949, predates the use of the okina and the kahakō in modern Hawaiian orthography. The exact spelling of the name in the Hawaiian language is Hawaiʻi. In the Hawaii Admission Act that granted Hawaiian statehood, the government recognized Hawaii as the official state name. Official government publications, department and office titles, and the Seal of Hawaii use the spelling with no symbols for glottal stops or vowel lengthHawaii – Hawaii from space, January 26, 2014
26. Palmyra Atoll – Palmyra Atoll is one of the Northern Line Islands, located almost due south of the Hawaiian Islands, roughly one-third of the way between Hawaii and American Samoa. The nearest continent is almost 5,400 kilometres to the northeast, the atoll is 4.6 sq mi, and it is located in the equatorial Northern Pacific Ocean. Its 9 mi of coastline has one known as West Lagoon. It is an unoccupied equatorial Northern Pacific atoll administered as an incorporated territory by the United States federal government. The atoll consists of a reef, two shallow lagoons, and some 50 sand and reef-rock islets and bars covered with vegetation—mostly Coconut palms, Scaevola. The islets of the atoll are mostly connected, sand Island and the two Home Islets in the west and Barren Island in the east are not. The largest island is Cooper Island in the north, followed by Kaula Island in the south, average annual rainfall is approximately 175 in per year. Daytime temperatures average 85 °F year round, Palmyra is an incorporated territory of the United States, meaning that it is subject to all provisions of the U. S. Constitution and is permanently under American sovereignty, however, since Palmyra is also an unorganized territory, there is no Act of Congress specifying how Palmyra should be governed. Palmyra has no permanent residents, however, in 2004 accommodations were built to support a number of temporary inhabitants. The only relevant federal law simply gives the President the authority to administer Palmyra as directed, the issue of the governing of Palmyra is generally a moot point, since there is no permanent population remaining there, nor any reason to think that there will be in the future. Palmyra is the only unorganized incorporated territory of the United States, Cooper Island and ten other land parcels in this atoll are owned by The Nature Conservancy, Inc. which manages them as a nature reserve. The southwesternmost islets, including Home, are owned by descendants of former Palmyra owner Henry Ernest Cooper, the rest of Palmyra is federal land and waters under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For all other purposes, Palmyra is counted as one of the U. S, there is no current economic activity on Palmyra other than paid ecotourism visits and sport fishing by Nature Conservancy donors. Most of the roads and causeways there were built during World War II, All of these are now unserviceable and overgrown with bushes and grass, and most have washed-away gaps. There is a 2, 000-yard -long, unpaved, airstrip on Cooper Island that was built for the Palmyra Island Naval Air Station before, a construction program in 2004 erected several two-person bungalows and showers for the temporary residents. Fresh water is collected from the roof of a building in this area. The communal buildings of the area on the western coast of Cooper Island consist of about half a dozen buildings next to the only sea dockPalmyra Atoll – Palmyra Atoll viewed from the northwest, 2011
27. Realm of New Zealand – The Realm of New Zealand is the entire area in which the Queen of New Zealand is head of state. New Zealand is an independent, sovereign state and it has one Antarctic territorial claim, the Ross Dependency, one dependent territory, Tokelau, and two associated states, the Cook Islands and Niue. The King/Queen of New Zealand, represented by the Governor-General of New Zealand, is head of state throughout the Realm of New Zealand, the exact scope of the realm is defined by the 1983 Letters Patent constituting the office of Governor-General. It constitutes one of 16 realms within the Commonwealth, the Cook Islands and Niue became New Zealands first Pacific colonies in 1901 and then protectorates. From 1965 the Cooks were self-governing, so was Niue from 1974, Tokelau came under New Zealand control in 1925 and remains a non-self-governing territory. The British government took possession of territory in 1923 and entrusted it to the administration of New Zealand. Neither Russia nor the United States recognises this claim, and the matter is left unresolved by the Antarctic Treaty and it is largely uninhabited, apart from scientific bases. New Zealand citizenship law treats all parts of the realm equally, so most people born in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, further conditions apply for those born from 2006 onwards. A governor-general represents the head of state in the area of the realm, essentially, Governors-General take on all the dignities and reserve powers of the head of state. From 31 August 2011 until 31 August 2016 the Governor-General was Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, dame Patsy Reddy was appointed to assume the position on 14 September 2016. The Realm of New Zealand is not a federation or a sovereign state. Both the Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing states in association with New Zealand. As such, the Parliament of New Zealand is not empowered to pass legislation in respect of these states. In foreign affairs and defence issues New Zealand acts on behalf of these countries, as the Governor-General is resident in New Zealand, the Cook Islands Constitution provides for the distinct position of Queens Representative. This individual is not subordinate to the Governor-General and acts as the representative of the Queen in right of New Zealand. Since 2013, Tom Marsters is the Queens Representative to the Cook Islands and this arrangement effectively allows for the de facto independent actions of internal and most external areas of governance. According to Niues Constitution of 1974, the Governor-General of New Zealand acts as the Queens representative, in the Cook Islands and Niue the New Zealand High Commissioner is the diplomatic representative from New Zealand. John Carter is the New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, mark Blumsky was the New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue from 2010 until he was replaced by Ross Ardern in early 2014Realm of New Zealand – New Zealand
28. Niue – Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean,2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand, and east of Tonga, south of Samoa and west of the Cook Islands. Its land area is 260 square kilometres and its population, predominantly Polynesian, is around 1,612 as of November 2016 and they commonly refer to the island as The Rock, a reference to the traditional name Rock of Polynesia. Niue, whose capital is the village of Alofi, is a state in free association with New Zealand. Niueans are citizens of New Zealand, and Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand, between 90–95% of Niuean people live in New Zealand, along with about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language. A bilingual country, over 30% speak both Niuean and English, though the percentage of monolingual English-speaking people is only 11%, while 46% are monolingual Niuean speakers, Rugby is the most played sport in Niue. In October 2016, Niue officially declared that all its debt was paid off. Niue is not a member of the United Nations, but UN organisations have accepted its status as a state as equivalent to independence for the purposes of international law. As such, Niue is a member of some UN specialised agencies, and is invited, alongside the other non-UN member state. Niue is subdivided into 14 villages, each village has a village council that elects its chairman. The villages are at the same electoral districts. Each village sends an assemblyman to the Parliament of Niue, in 2003, Niue became the first country in the world to offer free wireless internet to all its inhabitants. Niue Island Organic Farmers Association is currently paving way to an MEA committed to making Niue the worlds first fully organic nation, a leader in green growth, Niue is also transitioning to solar power, with help from the European Union. In 2015, Niue started providing phone landlines to all of its inhabitants, in 2008, Niue became the first country in the world where laptops are provided to all its school students. A highly democratic nation, Niueans enjoy high freedom, with elections every 3 years, there are no political parties in Niue, all are independents. The last political party, Niue Peoples Party, won once, in January 2004, Niue was hit by Cyclone Heta, which caused extensive damage to the entire island, including wiping out most of the south of the capital, Alofi. The disaster set the island back about two years from its planned timeline to implement the Niue Integrated Strategic Plan, since national efforts concentrated on recovery, in 2008, Niue had yet to fully recover. Niue is one of the worlds largest coral islands, the terrain consists of steep limestone cliffs along the coast with a central plateau rising to about 60 metres above sea level. A coral reef surrounds the island, with the only break in the reef being in the central western coast, close to the capitalNiue – Interior of church building in Alofi, 1896. Photo by Thomas Andrew (1855–1939).
29. Cook Islands – The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total area is 240 square kilometres. The Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone, however, covers 1,800,000 square kilometres of ocean, the Cook Islands defence and foreign affairs are the responsibility of New Zealand, but they are exercised in consultation with the Cook Islands. In recent times, the Cook Islands have adopted an independent foreign policy. Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, the Cook Islands main population centres are on the island of Rarotonga, where there is an international airport. There is a population of Cook Islanders in New Zealand. In the 2006 census,58,008 self-identified as being of ethnic Cook Islands Māori descent, the Cook Islands are in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa. There are 15 major islands spread over 2,200,000 km2 of ocean, the islands were formed by volcanic activity, the northern group is older and consists of six atolls, which are sunken volcanoes topped by coral growth. The climate is moderate to tropical, palmerston Island sometimes grouped with the Northern Group. Manuae Winslow Reef The Cook Islands were first settled in the 6th century by Polynesian people who migrated from Tahiti, in 1813 John Williams, a missionary on the Endeavour made the first recorded sighting of Rarotonga. The first recorded landing on Rarotonga by Europeans was in 1814 by the Cumberland, the islands saw no more Europeans until missionaries arrived from England in 1821. Christianity quickly took hold in the culture and many continue to be Christian believers today. The Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888, due largely to community fears that France might occupy the territory as it had Tahiti, on 6 September 1900, the leading islanders presented a petition asking that the islands should be annexed as British territory. These instruments did not include Aitutaki and it appears that, though the inhabitants regarded themselves as British subjects, the Crowns title was uncertain, and the island was formally annexed by Proclamation dated 9 October 1900. The islands were included within the boundaries of the Colony of New Zealand in 1901 by Order in Council under the Colonial Boundaries Act,1895 of the United Kingdom. The boundary change became effective on 11 June 1901 and the Cook Islands have had a relationship with New Zealand ever since. When the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 came into effect on 1 January 1949, the country remained a New Zealand dependent territory until 1965, when the New Zealand Government decided to offer self-governing status to its colony. In that year, Albert Henry of the Cook Islands Party was elected as the first Premier, Henry led the country until he was accused of vote-riggingCook Islands – Tapuaetai (One Foot Island) in the southern part of Aitutaki Atoll
30. Ashmore and Cartier Islands – The territory is located in the Indian Ocean situated on the edge of the continental shelf, about 320 km off the northwest coast of Australia and 144 km south of the Indonesian island of Rote. Ashmore Reef is called Pulau Pasir by Indonesians and it is called Nusa Solokaek in the Rotenese language, both names have the meaning sand island. The Territory comprises Ashmore Reef, which includes West, Middle, and East Islands, Ashmore Reef covers approximately 150 km2 and Cartier Reef 9 km2, both to the limits of the reefs. They have a total of 74.1 km of shoreline, Australia also claims a 12 nautical mile territorial sea generated by the islands. West, Middle, and East Islands have a land area variously reported as 54 ha,93 ha. Cartier Island has a land area of 0.4 ha. The Act authorised the Governor of Western Australia to make Ordinances for the Territory, in July 1938 the Territory was annexed to the Northern Territory, then also administered by the Commonwealth, whose laws, ordinances and regulations applied to the Territory. When self-government was granted to the Northern Territory on 1 July 1978, however, the Indonesian government does not appear to actively contest Australias sovereignty of the Territory. Australias sovereignty is backed up by the fact that the Territory was not administered by the Netherlands, in 1983 the Territory was declared a nature reserve under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975, now replaced by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Attorney-Generals Department had been responsible for the administration of Australian territories until the 2010 federal election, nearby Hibernia Reef,42 km northeast of Ashmore Reef, is not part of the Territory, but belongs to Western Australia. It has no dry land area, although large parts of the reef become exposed during low tide. The Ashmore Reef Commonwealth Marine Reserve, established in August 1983 and it is of significant biodiversity value as it is in the flow of the Indonesian Throughflow ocean current from the Pacific Ocean through Maritime Southeast Asia to the Indian Ocean. It is also in a surface current west from the Arafura Sea, there are feeding and nesting sites for loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles. It is classified as an Important Bird Area and has 50,000 breeding pairs of various kinds of seabirds, a high abundance and diversity of sea cucumbers, over-exploited on other reefs in the region, is present, with 45 species recorded. It was designated Ramsar Site 1220 under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and it includes the reef around Cartier island, a small submerged pinnacle called Wave Governor Bank, and two shallow pools to the islands northeast. The Reserve is part of the North-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network, there is no economic activity in the Territory, Ashmore and Cartier Islands being uninhabited. Cartier Island is a sand island. Access to Cartier Island is prohibited because of the risk of unexploded ordnances, there are no ports or harbours, only offshore anchorageAshmore and Cartier Islands – NASA satellite image of Ashmore Reef
31. Christmas Island – Christmas Island, officially the Territory of Christmas Island, is an Australian external territory comprising the island of the same name. Christmas Island is located in the Indian Ocean, around 350 kilometres south of Java and Sumatra and it has an area of 135 square kilometres. Christmas Island has a population of just over 2,000 residents, the main settlement is Flying Fish Cove. Around two-thirds of the population are Malaysian Chinese, with significant numbers of Malays. Several languages are in use, including English, Malay, and various Chinese dialects, while Buddhism is the primary religion, the first European to sight the island was Richard Rowe of the Thomas in 1615. The island was named on Christmas Day 1643 by Captain William Mynors. Its geographic isolation and history of human disturbance has led to a high level of endemism among its flora and fauna. The majority of the island is included in the Christmas Island National Park, Phosphate, deposited originally as guano, has been mined on the island since 1899. Located at 10°30′S 105°40′E, the island is about 19 kilometres in greatest length and 14.5 km in breadth, the total land area is 135 square kilometres, with 138.9 km of coastline. The island is the summit of an underwater mountain more than 4,500 metres high. The mountain was originally a volcano, and some basalt is exposed in places such as The Dales and Dolly Beach, the karst terrain supports numerous anchialine caves. Steep cliffs along much of the coast rise abruptly to a central plateau, elevation ranges from sea level to 361 m at Murray Hill. The island is tropical rainforest, 63% of which is national park land. The narrow fringing reef surrounding the island poses a maritime hazard, Christmas Island lies 2,600 kilometres northwest of Perth, Western Australia,500 km south of Indonesia,975 km ENE of the Cocos Islands, and 2,748 km west of Darwin, Northern Territory. Its closest point to the Australian mainland is 1,560 km from the town of Exmouth, Christmas Island has 80 kilometres of shoreline but only small parts of the shoreline are easily accessible. The islands perimeter is embodied by sharp cliff faces, making many of the beaches difficult to get to. As Christmas Island is located towards the edge of the equatorial region, climate is tropical. The highest temperature is usually around 29 °C in March and April, while the lowest temperature is 23 °C, there is a dry season from July to November with only occasional showersChristmas Island – Poon Saan in the evening
32. Cocos (Keeling) Islands – The territory consists of two atolls and 27 coral islands, of which two, West Island and Home Island, are inhabited with a total population of approximately 600. The islands have been called the Cocos Islands, the Keeling Islands, the Cocos–Keeling Islands, Cocos refers to the abundant coconut trees, while Keeling is William Keeling, reputedly the first European to sight the islands, in 1609. John Clunies-Ross, who sailed there in the Borneo in 1825, called the group the Borneo Coral Isles, restricting Keeling to North Keeling, the form Cocos Islands, attested from 1916, was made official by the Cocos Islands Act 1955. The climate is pleasant, moderated by the southeast trade winds for about nine months of the year, tropical cyclones may occur in the early months of the year. North Keeling Island is an atoll consisting of just one C-shaped island, the island measures 1.1 square kilometres in land area and is uninhabited. The lagoon is about 0.5 square kilometres, North Keeling Island and the surrounding sea to 1.5 km from shore form the Pulu Keeling National Park, established on 12 December 1995. It is home to the surviving population of the endemic. South Keeling Islands is an atoll consisting of 24 individual islets forming an incomplete atoll ring, only Home Island and West Island are populated. The Cocos Malays maintain weekend shacks, referred to as pondoks, there are no rivers or lakes on either atoll. Fresh water resources are limited to water lenses on the larger islands and these lenses are accessed through shallow bores or wells. Cocos Islands experiences tropical climate according to Köppen climate classification as the archipelago lies approximately in the midway between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. The archipelago has two distinct precipitation totals between the wet season and the dry season, the wettest month is April with precipitation total 250.0 millimetres, while the driest month is October with precipitation total 50.9 millimetres. The temperature varies a little as its away from the Equator. The hottest month is March with average high temperature 29.8 °C, in 2010, the population of the islands is estimated at just over 600. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island. A Cocos dialect of Malay and English are the languages spoken, and 80% of Cocos Islanders are Sunni Muslim. In 1609, Captain William Keeling was the first European to see the islands, while serving in the East India Company, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. Hare had previously served as resident of Banjarmasin, a town in Borneo, Clunies-Ross returned two years later with his wife, children and mother-in-law, and found Hare already established on the island and living with a private haremCocos (Keeling) Islands
33. Coral Sea Islands – The only inhabited island is Willis Island. The Coral Sea Islands were first charted in 1803, in the 1870s and 1880s the islands were mined for guano but the absence of a reliable supply of fresh water prevented long-term habitation. The two latter reefs are closer to Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, than to the southernmost island of the rest of the territory. The islands, cays and reefs of the Great Barrier Reef are not part of the territory, the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef is the boundary between Queensland and the Coral Sea Islands Territory. The territory is a possession or external territory of Australia, administered from Canberra by the Attorney-Generals Department, defence is the responsibility of Australia, and the territory is visited regularly by the Royal Australian Navy. Australia maintains automatic weather stations on many of the isles and reefs, there is no economic activity, and only a staff of three or four people to run the meteorological station on Willis Island, established in 1921. In November 2011 the Australian government announced that a 989, 842-square-kilometre protected area was planned in the Coral Sea, as applicable, the laws of the Australian Capital Territory apply on the Coral Sea Islands. The territorys FIPS 10-4 code is CR, whereas ISO3166 includes it in Australia, the islands are all very low. The Willis Islets are important nesting areas for birds and turtles and they comprise less than three square kilometres of land. There is no port or harbour, only offshore anchorage, the formation sits atop a submarine feature known as the Marion Plateau which is separated from the larger Coral Sea Plateau to the north by the Townsville Trough. Three small sand cays are located on the side of Marion Reef, Paget Cay, on Long Reef, Carola Cay, south of Long Reef. The atolls of the Northwestern Group, except Osprey Reef and Shark Reef in the north, and Marion Reef in the south, are located on the Coral Sea Plateau, flinders Reefs, Heralds Surprise and Dart Reef form a cluster of reefs of 66 by 26 km. The 6 islets of the reserve have areas from 0.16 to 0.37 km2. Lihou Reef was declared a Nature Reserve on 16 August 1982, the Nature Reserves were created to protect wildlife in the respective areas of the territory, together they form the Coral Sea Reserves Ramsar Site. It has the outline of a platform around 10 km in length and 3 km across. The surrounding reefs, which enclose a narrow lagoon, are submerged at high tide. Near the centre of the lagoon is the only permanent land of the reef - Heralds-Beacon Islet, the island is a small cay measuring 600 m by 120 m, area 57,000 m2, only rising a few ms above the high-water mark. Frederick Reefs, The reefs form a lagoon, known as Anchorage SoundCoral Sea Islands – Stony corals
34. Norfolk Island – The island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia. Together with two neighbouring islands, it one of Australias external territories. It has 1,796 inhabitants living on an area of about 35 km2. Norfolk Island was first settled by East Polynesians but was long unpopulated when it was also settled by Great Britain as part of its settlement of Australia from 1788. The island served as a penal settlement from 6 March 1788 until 5 May 1855. On 8 June 1856, permanent civilian residence on the island began when it was settled from Pitcairn Island, in 1914 the UK handed Norfolk Island over to Australia to administer as an external territory. The evergreen Norfolk Island pine is a symbol of the island, native to the island, the pine is a key export for Norfolk Island, being a popular ornamental tree on mainland Australia, where two related species grow, and also worldwide. Norfolk Island was settled by East Polynesian seafarers either from the Kermadec Islands north of New Zealand or from the North Island of New Zealand and they arrived in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, and survived for several generations before disappearing. The first European known to have sighted and landed on the island was Captain James Cook, on 10 October 1774 and he named it after Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk. Sir John Call argued the advantages of Norfolk Island in that it was uninhabited, in 1786 the British government included Norfolk Island as an auxiliary settlement, as proposed by John Call, in its plan for colonisation of New South Wales. The decision to settle Norfolk Island was taken due to Empress Catherine II of Russias decision to restrict sales of hemp, practically all the hemp and flax required by the Royal Navy for cordage and sailcloth was imported from Russia. They arrived on 6 March 1788, during the first year of the settlement, which was also called Sydney like its parent, more convicts and soldiers were sent to the island from New South Wales. As early as 1794, Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales Francis Grose suggested its closure as a settlement, as it was too remote and difficult for shipping. The first group of left in February 1805, and by 1808 only about 200 remained. A small party remained to slaughter stock and destroy all buildings, so there would be no inducement for anyone, especially from other European powers, to visit. From 15 February 1814 to 6 June 1825 the island was abandoned, in 1824 the British government instructed the Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane, to occupy Norfolk Island as a place to send the worst description of convicts. Its remoteness, previously seen as a disadvantage, was now viewed as an asset for the detention of recalcitrant male prisoners, furthermore, the overwhelming majority of convicts sent to Norfolk Island had committed non-violent property sentences, and the average length of detention was three years. The second penal settlement began to be wound down by the British government after 1847, the island was abandoned because transportation from the United Kingdom to Van Diemens Land had ceased in 1853, to be replaced by penal servitude in the UKNorfolk Island – Norfolk Island gaol
35. American Samoa – American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Samoa. American Samoa consists of five islands and two coral atolls. The largest and most populous island is Tutuila, with the Manuʻa Islands, Rose Atoll, All islands except for Swains Island are part of the Samoan Islands, located west of the Cook Islands, north of Tonga, and some 300 miles south of Tokelau. To the west are the islands of the Wallis and Futuna group, the 2010 census showed a total population of 55,519 people. The total land area is 199 square kilometers, slightly more than Washington, American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the U. S. and one of two U. S. territories south of the Equator, along with the uninhabited Jarvis Island. Tuna products are the exports, and the main trading partner is the United States. American Samoa is noted for having the highest rate of enlistment of any U. S. state or territory. Most American Samoans are bilingual and can speak English and Samoan fluently, Samoan is the same language spoken in neighboring independent Samoa. Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century, dutchman Jacob Roggeveen was the first known European to sight the Samoan Islands in 1722. This visit was followed by French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville who named them the Navigator Islands in 1768, contact was limited before the 1830s, when English missionaries and traders began arriving. The site of battle is called Massacre Bay. Mission work in the Samoas had begun in late 1830 when John Williams of the London Missionary Society arrived from the Cook Islands, by that time, the Samoans had gained a reputation for being savage and warlike, as violent altercations had occurred between natives and European visitors. In March 1889, an Imperial German naval force entered a village on Samoa, three American warships then entered the Apia harbor and prepared to engage the three German warships found there. Before any shots were fired, a typhoon wrecked both the American and German ships, a compulsory armistice was then called because of the lack of any warships. Forerunners to the Tripartite Convention of 1899 were the Washington Conference of 1887, the Treaty of Berlin of 1889, the following year, the USA formally occupied its portion, a smaller group of eastern islands, one of which contains the noted harbor of Pago Pago. The Navy secured a Deed of Cession of Tutuila in 1900, the territory became known as the US Naval Station Tutuila. On July 17,1911, the US Naval Station Tutuila, in 1918 during the final stages of World War I, the flu pandemic had taken its toll, spreading rapidly from country to country. The result of Poyers quick actions earned him the Navy Cross from the US Navy, with this distinction, American Samoans regarded Poyer as their hero for what he had done to prevent the deadly diseaseAmerican Samoa – Coastline of American Samoa
36. Baker Island – Baker Island /ˈbeɪkər/ is an uninhabited atoll located just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean about 3,090 km southwest of Honolulu. The island lies almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia, the island covers 2.1 km2, with 4.8 km of coastline. The climate is equatorial, with rainfall, constant wind. The terrain is low-lying and sandy, an island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef with a depressed central area devoid of a lagoon with its highest point being 8 m above sea level. The island now forms the Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge and is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the U. S. which vouches for its defense and it is visited annually by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For statistical purposes, Baker is grouped with the United States Minor Outlying Islands, Baker Island is also the last piece of land that experiences the New Year. A cemetery and rubble from earlier settlements are located near the middle of the west coast, there are no ports or harbors, with anchorage available only offshore. The narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard, bakers abandoned World War II runway,5,463 ft long, is completely covered with vegetation and is unserviceable. The United States claims an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles, during a 1935–1942 colonization attempt, the island was most likely on Hawaii time, which was then 10.5 hours behind UTC. Since it is uninhabited the islands time zone is unspecified, Baker was discovered in 1818 by Captain Elisha Folger of the Nantucket whaling ship Equator, who called the island New Nantucket. In August 1825 Baker was sighted by Captain Obed Starbuck of the Loper, the island is named for Michael Baker, who visited the island in 1834. Other references state that he visited in 1832, and again on August 14,1839, in the whaler Gideon Howland, Captain Baker claimed the island in 1855, then he sold his interest to a group who later formed the American Guano Company. The United States took possession of the island in 1857, claiming it under the Guano Islands Act of 1856 and its guano deposits were mined by the American Guano Company from 1859 to 1878. On 7 December 1886, it all its rights to the British firm John T. Arundel and Company. Arundel applied in 1897 to the British Colonial Office for a licence to work the island on the presumption that the USA had abandoned their claim, the United Kingdom then considered Baker Island as a British territory, while never formally annexing it. This short-lived attempt at colonization begun when American colonists arrived aboard the USCGC Itasca and they built a lighthouse and substantial dwellings, and they attempted to grow various plants. The settlement was named Meyerton, after Captain H. A, meyer of the United States Army, who helped establish the camps in 1935. One sad-looking clump of coconut palms was jokingly called King-Doyle Park after two well-known citizens of Hawaii who visited on the Taney in 1938, King-Doyle Park was later adopted as a geographic name by the USGSBaker Island – Baker Island coastline with red-footed booby
37. Guam – Guam is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States. Located in the western Pacific Ocean, Guam is one of five American territories with a civilian government. The capital city is Hagåtña and the most populous city is Dededo, in 2015,161,785 people resided on Guam. Guamanians are American citizens by birth, Guam has an area of 210 sq mi and a population density of 770/sq mi. It is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia, among its municipalities, Mongmong-Toto-Maite has the highest density at 3, 691/sq mi, whereas Inarajan and Umatac have the lowest density at 119/sq mi. The highest point is Mount Lamlam at 406 meters above sea level, the Chamorros, Guams indigenous people, settled the island approximately 4,000 years ago. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to visit the island on March 6,1521, Guam was colonized in 1668 with settlers, like Diego Luis de San Vitores, a Catholic missionary. Between the 16th century and the 18th century, Guam was an important stopover for the Spanish Manila Galleons, during the Spanish–American War, the United States captured Guam on June 21,1898. Under the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded Guam to the United States on December 10,1898, Guam is among the seventeen Non-Self-Governing Territories of the United Nations. Before World War II, Guam and three other territories – American Samoa, Hawaii, and the Philippines – were the only American jurisdictions in the Pacific Ocean. On December 7,1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Guam was captured by the Japanese, during the occupation, Guamanians were subjected to beheadings, forced labor, rape, and torture. Guam endured hostilities when American forces recaptured the island on July 21,1944, since the 1960s, the economy has been supported by two industries, tourism and the United States Armed Forces. The original inhabitants of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are believed to be descendants of Austronesian people originating from Southeast Asia as early as 2000 BC and they evolved into the Chamorro people. The ancient-Chamorro society had four classes, chamorri, matua, achaot, the matua were located in the coastal villages, which meant they had the best access to fishing grounds, whereas the manachang were located in the interior of the island. Matua and manachang rarely communicated with other, and matua often used achaot as intermediaries. There were also makåhna, skilled in healing and medicine, belief in spirits of ancient Chamorros called Taotao mona still persists as a remnant of pre-European culture. Their society was organized along matrilineal clans, Latte stones are stone pillars that are found only in the Mariana Islands, they are a recent development in Pre-Contact Chamorro society. The latte-stone was used as a foundation on which thatched huts were built, Latte stones consist of a base shaped from limestone called the haligi and with a capstone, or tåsa, made either from a large brain coral or limestone, placed on topGuam – Marines laying fire on a Japanese sniper nest (July 28, 1944).
38. Howland Island – Howland Island /ˈhaʊlənd/ is an uninhabited coral island located just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean, about 1,700 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu. The island lies almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia and is an unincorporated, unorganized territory of the United States, geographically, together with Baker Island it forms part of the Phoenix Islands. For statistical purposes, Howland is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands, Howland is located at 0°48′24″N 176°36′59″W. It covers 1,112 acres, with 4 miles of coastline, the island has an elongated plantain-shape on a north-south axis. Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge consists of the island and the surrounding 32,074 acres of submerged land. The island is managed by the U. S. Fish, the atoll has no economic activity. It is perhaps best known as the island Amelia Earhart was searching for but never reached when her airplane disappeared on July 2,1937, airstrips constructed to accommodate her planned stopover were subsequently damaged, were not maintained and gradually disappeared. There are no harbors or docks, the fringing reefs may pose a maritime hazard. There is a landing area along the middle of the sandy beach on the west coast. The island is visited every two years by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the climate is equatorial, with little rainfall and intense sunshine. Temperatures are moderated somewhat by a constant wind from the east, the terrain is low-lying and sandy, a coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef with a slightly raised central area. The highest point is about six meters above sea level, there are no natural fresh water resources. The landscape features scattered grasses along with prostrate vines and low-growing pisonia trees, a 1942 eyewitness description spoke of a low grove of dead and decaying kou trees on a very shallow hill at the islands center. Howland is primarily a nesting, roosting and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, the U. S. claims an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles around the island. Since Howland Island is uninhabited, no time zone is specified and it lies within a nautical time zone which is 12 hours behind UTC. Sparse remnants of trails and other artifacts indicate a sporadic early Polynesian presence, a canoe, a blue bead, pieces of bamboo, and other relics of early settlers have been found. Emery, an ethnologist for Honolulus Bernice P, Worth of the Nantucket whaler Oeno sighted Howland around 1822 and called it Worth Island. Daniel MacKenzie of the American whaler Minerva Smith was unaware of Worths sighting when he charted the island in 1828, Howland Island was at last named on September 9,1842 after a lookout who sighted it from the whaleship Isabella under Captain GeoHowland Island – Howland Island seen from space
39. Jarvis Island – Jarvis Island is an uninhabited 1 3⁄4-square-mile coral island located in the South Pacific Ocean at 0°22′S 160°01′W, about halfway between Hawaii and the Cook Islands. Unlike most coral atolls, the lagoon on Jarvis is wholly dry, Jarvis is one of the Line Islands and for statistical purposes is also grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. While a few offshore anchorage spots are marked on maps, Jarvis island has no ports or harbors, there is a boat landing area in the middle of the western shoreline near a crumbling day beacon, and another near the southwest corner of the island. The center of Jarvis island is a lagoon where deep guano deposits accumulated. The island has a desert climate, with high daytime temperatures, constant wind. The ground is mostly sandy and reaches 23 feet at its highest point, because of the islands distance from other large landmasses, the Jarvis Island high point is the 36th most isolated peak in the world. The low-lying coral island has long noted as hard to sight from small ships and is surrounded by a narrow fringing reef. Located only 25 miles south of the equator, Jarvis has no natural freshwater lens. This creates a bleak, flat landscape without any plants larger than shrubs. There is no evidence that the island has supported a self-sustaining human population. Its sparse bunch grass, prostrate vines and low-growing shrubs are primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife. The islands first known sighting by Europeans was on August 21,1821 by the British ship Eliza Francis owned by Edward, Thomas and William Jarvis and commanded by Captain Brown. In March 1857 the island was claimed for the United States under the Guano Islands Act and formally annexed on February 27,1858. The American Guano Company, which was incorporated in 1857, established claims in respect of Baker Island, beginning in 1858, several support structures were built on Jarvis Island, along with a two-story, eight-room superintendents house featuring an observation cupola and wide verandahs. Tram tracks were laid down for bringing mined guano to the western shore, one of the first loads was taken by Samuel Gardner Wilder. Squire Flockton was left alone on the island as caretaker for several months and committed suicide there in 1883 and his wooden grave marker was a carved plank which could be seen in the islands tiny four-grave cemetery for decades. John T. Arundel & Co. resumed mining guano from 1886 to 1899, the United Kingdom annexed the island on June 3,1889. Phosphate and copra entrepreneur John T. Arundel visited the island in 1909 on maiden voyage of the S. SJarvis Island – Western shore of Jarvis Island with day beacon at the site of Millersville in October 2003
40. Johnston Atoll – Johnston Atoll, also known as Kalama Atoll to Native Hawaiians, is an unincorporated territory of the United States currently administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Public entry is only by special-use permit from the U. S. Fish, for nearly 70 years, the atoll was under the control of the American military. These activities left the area environmentally contaminated and remediation and monitoring continue, the Johnston Atoll is a deserted 1,300 ha atoll in the North Pacific Ocean located about 750 nmi southwest of the island of Hawaii and is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. The atoll, which is located on a coral platform, has four islands. Johnston Island and Sand Island are both enlarged natural features, while Akau and Hikina are two artificial islands formed by coral dredging, the four islands compose a total land area of 2.67 square kilometres. Due to the tilt, much of the reef on the southeast portion has subsided. But even though it not have an encircling reef crest. The climate is tropical but generally dry, northeast trade winds are consistent and there is little seasonal temperature variation. With elevation ranging from sea level to 5 m at Summit Peak, the first Western record of the atoll was on September 2,1796 when the Boston-based American brig Sally accidentally grounded on a shoal near the islands. The ships captain, Joseph Pierpont, published his experience in several American newspapers the following year giving a position of Johnston. However, he did not name or lay claim to the area, the islands were not officially named until Captain Charles J. Johnston of the Royal Naval ship HMS Cornwallis sighted them on December 14,1807. In the following years, an occasional vessel stopped, but generally one look was enough. The Guano Islands Act, enacted on August 18,1856, was legislation passed by the U. S. Congress that enabled citizens of the U. S. to take possession of islands containing guano deposits. In 1858 William Parker and R. F. Ryan, chartered the schooner Palestine specifically to find Johnston Atoll and they located guano on the atoll in March 1858 and they proceeded to claim the island. By 1858, Johnston Atoll was claimed by both the United States and the Kingdom of Hawaii, in June 1858, Samuel Allen, sailing on the Kalama, tore down the U. S. flag and raised the Hawaiian flag renaming the atoll Kalama. The larger island was renamed Kalama Island, and the smaller island was called Cornwallis. Returning on July 27,1858, the Captain of the Palestine again hoisted the American flag, the same day, the atoll was declared part of the domain of King Kamehameha IV. On this visit however the Palestine left two crew members on the island to gather phosphate, however, later that year King Kamehameha revoked the lease granted to Samuel Allen when the King learned that the atoll had been claimed previously by the United StatesJohnston Atoll – Johnston Atoll is located between the Marshall Islands and the Hawaiian Islands
41. Kingman Reef – It is the northernmost of the Northern Line Islands and lies 36 nautical miles northwest of the next closest island, and 930 nautical miles south of Honolulu. The reef encloses a lagoon up to 270 feet deep in its western part, the total area within the outer rim of the reef is 29 sq mi. There are two strips of dry land composed of coral rubble and giant clamshells on the eastern rim with areas of 2 and 1 acre having a coastline of 2 miles. The highest point on the reef is less than 5 feet above sea level and it has no natural resources and supports no economic activity. Kingman Reef has the status of a territory of the United States, administered from Washington. The atoll is closed to the public, for statistical purposes, Kingman Reef is grouped as part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. In January 2009, Kingman Reef was designated a national monument. The Island also has a flag, the pre-20th century names Danger Reef, Caldew Reef, Maria Shoal and Crane Shoal refer to this atoll, which by then was entirely submerged at high tide. Thomas Hale Streets described its state in the 1870s, when it had, hardly, as yet, assumed the distinctive features of an island. It is entirely under water at high tide, and but a few coral heads project here and there above the surface at low water, in the course of time, however, it will undoubtedly be added to the. Kingman Reef was discovered by the American Captain Edmund Fanning of the ship Betsey on June 14,1798, Captain W. E. Kingman described it on November 29,1853. Kingman Reef was claimed in 1860 by the United States Guano Company and this claim was made under by the Guano Islands Act of 1856 although there is no evidence that guano existed or was ever mined on Kingman Reef. On December 29,1934, the US Navy assumed jurisdiction over Kingman Reef, the lagoon was used in 1937 and 1938 as a halfway station between Hawaii and American Samoa by Pan American Airways flying boats. Pan Am wanted to expand flights into the Pacific and include Australia, in 1935 it was decided that the lagoon at Kingman Reef was suitable for overnight stops en route from the U. S. to New Zealand via Samoa. Kingman Reef became the stopover to and from Pago Pago, American Samoa, a supply ship, the North Wind, was stationed at Kingman Reef to provide fuel, lodging, and meals. The S42B Pan American Clipper II, piloted by Captain Edwin Musick, several successful flights followed, but the flight on January 11,1938 ended in tragedy. Shortly after the early morning take off from Pago Pago, bound for New Zealand, the right outboard engine had developed an oil leak and the plane burst into flames while dumping fuel, there were no survivors. As a result of the tragedy, Pan Am ended flights to New Zealand via Kingman Reef, a new route was established in July 1940 by way of Canton Island and New CaledoniaKingman Reef – Map of Kingman Reef
42. Midway Atoll – Midway Atoll is a 2. 4-square-mile atoll in the North Pacific Ocean at 28°12′N 177°21′W. As its name suggests, Midway is roughly equidistant between North America and Asia, Midway Atoll is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Midway continues to be the island in the Hawaiian archipelago that is not part of the state of Hawaii. Unlike the other Hawaiian islands, Midway observes Samoa Time, which is one hour behind the time in the state of Hawaii, for statistical purposes, Midway is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. The Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, encompassing 590,991.50 acres of land and water in the area, is administered by the United States Fish. The refuge and most of its area are part of the larger Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Until 1993, the atoll was the home of the Naval Air Facility Midway, the Battle of Midway, which was fought between June 4 and 6,1942, was one of the most important battles of the Pacific campaign of World War II. The United States Navy defeated a Japanese battle group marking a point in the war in the Pacific Theater. USAAF aircraft based at the original Henderson Field on Eastern Island joined the attack against the Japanese fleet, approximately 40 to 60 people live on the atoll, which includes staff of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and contract workers. At present, visitation to the atoll is only for business reasons as the tourism program has been suspended due to budget cutbacks. In 2012, the last year that the program was in operation,332 people made the trip to Midway. Tours focused on both the ecology of Midway as well as its military history. The economy is derived solely from governmental sources and tourist fees, nearly all supplies must be brought to the island by ship or plane, though a hydroponic greenhouse and garden supply some fresh fruits and vegetables. As its name suggests, Midway is roughly equidistant between North America and Asia, and lies almost halfway around the world longitudinally from Greenwich and it is near the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, about one-third of the way from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Tokyo, Japan. Midway Atoll is less than 140 nautical miles east of the International Date Line, about 2,800 nautical miles west of San Francisco, and 2,200 nautical miles east of Tokyo. Midway Atoll is part of a chain of islands, atolls. It consists of a barrier reef and several sand islets. The two significant pieces of land, Sand Island and Eastern Island, provide a habitat for millions of seabirdsMidway Atoll – Satellite image of Midway Atoll
43. Northern Mariana Islands – The CNMI includes all islands in the Mariana Archipelago except Guam which is the southernmost island of the chain and a separate U. S. territory. The United States Department of the Interior cites a landmass of 183.5 square miles, according to the 2010 United States Census,53,883 people were living in the CNMI at that time. The vast majority of the population resides on Saipan, Tinian, the administrative center is Capitol Hill, a village in northwestern Saipan. However, most publications consider Saipan to be the capital because the island is governed as a single municipality, the first people of the Mariana Islands immigrated at some point between 4000 BC and 2000 BC from Southeast Asia. After first contact with Spaniards, they became known as the Chamorros, a Spanish word similar to Chamori. The ancient people of the Marianas raised colonnades of megalithic capped pillars called latte stones upon which they built their homes, the first European explorer of the area, the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, arrived in 1521. He landed on Guam, the southernmost island of the Marianas, the Spanish ships were met offshore by the native Chamorros, who delivered refreshments and then helped themselves to a small boat belonging to Magellans fleet. This led to a clash, in Chamorro tradition, little property was private and taking something one needed, such as a boat for fishing. The Spanish did not understand this custom, and fought the Chamorros until the boat was recovered, three days after he had been welcomed on his arrival, Magellan fled the archipelago. Spain regarded the islands as annexed and later made part of the Spanish East Indies. In 1734, the Spanish built a palace in Guam for the governor of the islands. Its remains are visible even in the 21st century, see the Plaza de España article, Guam operated as an important stopover between Manila and Mexico for galleons carrying gold between the Philippines and Spain. Some galleons sunk in Guam remain, in 1668, Father Diego Luis de San Vitores renamed the islands Las Marianas in honor of his patroness the Spanish regent Mariana of Austria, widow of Felipe IV. Most of the native population died from Spanish diseases or married non-Chamorro settlers under Spanish rule. New settlers, primarily from the Philippines and the Caroline Islands, were brought to repopulate the islands, the Chamorro population gradually recovered, and Chamorro, Filipino, and Carolinian languages and other ethnic differences remain in the Marianas. During the 17th century, Spanish colonists forcibly moved the Chamorros to Guam, by the time they were allowed to return to the Northern Marianas, many Carolinians from present-day eastern Yap State and western Chuuk State had settled in the Marianas. Both languages, as well as English, are now official in the Commonwealth, the Northern Marianas experienced an influx of immigration from the Carolines during the 19th century. Both this Carolinian subethnicity and Carolinians in the Carolines archipelago refer to themselves as the Refaluwasch, the indigenous Chamoru word for the same group of people is gupalaoNorthern Mariana Islands – Colonial tower, vestige of the ex-Spanish colony.
44. Wake Island – The island is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States that is also claimed by the Marshall Islands. Wake Island is one of the most isolated islands in the world, Wake Island is administered by the United States Air Force, under an agreement with the Department of the Interior. The center of activity on the atoll is at Wake Island Airfield which is used as a mid-Pacific refueling stop for military aircraft. The 9, 800-foot runway is the longest strategic runway in the Pacific islands, the Base Operations Support contractor at Wake is Chugach Alaska Corporation. About 94 people live on the island, and access to it is restricted, the island fell to Japanese forces, however,12 days later in a second attack, this one with extensive support from Japanese carrier-based aircraft returning from the attack on Pearl Harbor. Wake Island remained occupied by Japanese forces until the end of the war, the submerged and emergent lands at the atoll are a unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. For statistical purposes, Wake Island is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands by the International Organization for Standardization, Wake Island derives its name from British sea captain Samuel Wake, who rediscovered the atoll in 1796 while in command of the Prince William Henry. The name is attributed to Captain William Wake, who also is reported to have discovered the atoll from the Prince William Henry in 1792. Wake is located two-thirds of the way between Honolulu,2,300 statute miles to the east and Guam,1,510 statute miles to the west, the closest land is the uninhabited Bokak Atoll 348 mi in the Marshall Islands to the southeast. The atoll is to the west of the International Date Line and is in the Wake Island Time Zone, Sea surface temperatures are warm all year long, reaching above 80 °F in summer and autumn. Typhoons occasionally pass over the island, on September 16,1967, at 10,40 pm local time, the eye of Super Typhoon Sarah passed over the island. Sustained winds in the eyewall were 130 knots, from the north before the eye, there were no serious injuries, and the majority of the civilian population was evacuated after the storm. On August 28,2006, the United States Air Force evacuated all 188 residents, in the ancient Marshallese religion, rituals surrounding the tattooing of tribal chiefs, called Iroijlaplap, were done using fresh human bones, which required a human sacrifice. A man could save himself from being sacrificed if he obtained a wing bone from a large seabird said to have existed on Enen-kio. Small groups would brave traveling to the atoll in hopes of obtaining this bone, no archaeological evidence has been found to suggest that there was ever a permanent or temporary settlement by Marshall Islanders on Wake Island. Wake Island was first encountered by Europeans on October 2,1568 by Spanish explorer, after visiting Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands, the expedition headed north and came upon Wake Island, a low barren island, judged to be eight leagues in circumference. Since the date, October 2,1568, was the eve of the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, in 1796, Captain Samuel Wake of the British merchantman Prince William Henry also came upon Wake Island, naming the atoll for himself. In 1823, Captain Edward Gardner, while in command of the British Royal Navys whaling ship H. M. S, bellona, visited an island at 19°15′00″N 166°32′00″E, which he judged to be 20–25 miles longWake Island – Map of Wake Island
45. French Polynesia – It is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometres in the South Pacific Ocean. Its total land area is 4,167 square kilometres, among its 118 islands and atolls,67 are inhabited. Tahiti, which is located within the Society Islands, is the most populous island and it has more than 68% of the population of the islands in 2012. Although not a part of its territory, Clipperton Island was administered from French Polynesia until 2007. Following the Great Polynesian Migration, European explorers visited the islands of French Polynesia on several occasions, traders and whaling ships also visited. In 1842, the French took over the islands and established a French protectorate they called Etablissements des français en Océanie, in 1946, the EFOs became an overseas territory under the constitution of the French Fourth Republic, and Polynesians were granted the right to vote through citizenship. In 1957, the EFOs were renamed French Polynesia, French Polynesia as we know it today was one of the last places on Earth to be settled by humans. Scientists believe the Great Polynesian Migration happened around 1500 BC as Austronesian people went on a journey using celestial navigation to find islands in the South Pacific Ocean, the first islands of French Polynesia to be settled were the Marquesas Islands in about 200 BC. The Polynesians later ventured southwest and discovered the Society Islands around AD300, European encounters began in 1521 when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, sailing at the service of the Spanish Crown, sighted Puka-Puka in the Tuāmotu-Gambier Archipelago. Over a century later, British explorer Samuel Wallis visited Tahiti in 1767, French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville also visited Tahiti in 1768, while British explorer James Cook arrived in 1769. A short-lived Spanish settlement was created in 1774, and for a time some maps bore the name Isla de Amat after Viceroy Amat, in 1772, Dutchman Jakob Roggeveen came across Bora Bora in the Society Islands. Christian missions began with Spanish priests who stayed in Tahiti for a year, protestants from the London Missionary Society settled permanently in Polynesia in 1797. King Pōmare II of Tahiti was forced to flee to Moorea in 1803, he, French Catholic missionaries arrived on Tahiti in 1834, their expulsion in 1836 caused France to send a gunboat in 1838. In 1842, Tahiti and Tahuata were declared a French protectorate, the capital of Papeetē was founded in 1843. In 1880, France annexed Tahiti, changing the status from that of a protectorate to that of a colony, the island groups were not officially united until the establishment of the French protectorate in 1889. In the 1880s, France claimed the Tuamotu Archipelago, which belonged to the Pōmare Dynasty. Having declared a protectorate over Tahuata in 1842, the French regarded the entire Marquesas Islands as French, in 1885, France appointed a governor and established a general council, thus giving it the proper administration for a colony. The islands of Rimatara and Rūrutu unsuccessfully lobbied for British protection in 1888, postage stamps were first issued in the colony in 1892French Polynesia – A two-franc World War II emergency-issue banknote (1943), printed in Papeete, and depicting the outline of Tahiti on the reverse.
46. New Caledonia – New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean,1,210 km east of Australia and 16,136 km east of Metropolitan France. The Chesterfield Islands are in the Coral Sea, locals refer to Grande Terre as Le Caillou. New Caledonia has an area of 18,576 km2. Its population of 268,767 consists of a mix of Kanak people, people of European descent, Polynesian people, the capital of the territory is Nouméa. The earliest traces of human presence in New Caledonia date back to the Lapita period, the Lapita were highly skilled navigators and agriculturists with influence over a large area of the Pacific. British explorer Captain James Cook was the first European to sight New Caledonia, on 4 September 1774 and he named it New Caledonia, as the northeast of the island reminded him of Scotland. The west coast of Grande Terre was approached by Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse in 1788, shortly before his disappearance, from then until 1840, only a few sporadic contacts with the archipelago were recorded. Contacts became more frequent after 1840, because of the interest in sandalwood from New Caledonia, the trade ceased at the start of the 20th century. The victims of this trade were called Kanakas, like all the Oceanian people, the first missionaries from the London Missionary Society and the Marist Brothers arrived in the 1840s. In 1849, the crew of the American ship Cutter was killed, cannibalism was widespread throughout New Caledonia. On 24 September 1853, under orders from Napoleon III, Admiral Febvrier Despointes took formal possession of New Caledonia, a few dozen free settlers settled on the west coast in the following years. New Caledonia became a colony, and from the 1860s until the end of the transportations in 1897, about 22,000 criminals. Among the convicts were many Communards arrested after the failed Paris Commune, including Henri de Rochefort, between 1873 and 1876,4,200 political prisoners were relegated in New Caledonia. Only 40 of them settled in the colony, the rest returned to France after being granted amnesty in 1879 and 1880. In 1864, nickel was discovered on the banks of the Diahot River and with the establishment of the Société Le Nickel in 1876, mining began in earnest. The French imported labourers to work in the mines, first from neighbouring islands, then from Japan, the Dutch East Indies, the French government also attempted to encourage European immigration, without much success. The indigenous population was excluded from the French economy, even as workers in the mines, and they were ultimately confined to reservations. This sparked a violent reaction in 1878 as High Chief Atal of La Foa managed to unite many of the central tribes, the Europeans brought new diseases such as smallpox and measlesNew Caledonia – Flags of New Caledonia
47. Wallis and Futuna – Though both French and Polynesian, Wallis and Futuna is distinct from the entity known as French Polynesia. Its land area is 142.42 km2 with a population of about 12,000, Mata-Utu is the capital and biggest city. Since 2003, Wallis and Futuna has been a French overseas collectivity, between 1961 and 2003, it had the status of a French overseas territory, though its official name did not change when the status changed. Polynesians settled the islands that would later be called Wallis and Futuna around the year 1000 AD/CE, the original inhabitants built forts and other identifiable ruins on the islands, some of which are still partially intact. Pierre Chanel, canonized as a saint in 1954, is a patron of the island of Futuna. The Wallis Islands are named after the British explorer, Samuel Wallis, on 5 April 1842, the missionaries asked for the protection of France after the rebellion of a part of the local population. On 5 April 1887, the Queen of Uvea signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate. The kings of Sigave and Alo on the islands of Futuna, the islands were put under the authority of the French colony of New Caledonia. In 1917, the three kingdoms were annexed to France and turned into the Colony of Wallis and Futuna. During World War II the islands’ administration was pro-Vichy until a Free French corvette from New Caledonia deposed the regime on 26 May 1942, units of the US Marine Corps landed on Wallis on 29 May 1942. In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory, effective in 1961, in 2005, the 50th King of Uvea, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, faced being deposed after giving sanctuary to his grandson who was convicted of manslaughter. The King claimed his grandson should be judged by tribal law rather than by the French penal system, there were riots in the streets involving the Kings supporters, who were victorious over attempts to replace the King. Two years later, Tomasi Kulimoetoke died on 7 May 2007, the state was in a six-month period of mourning. During this period, mentioning a successor was forbidden, on 25 July 2008, Kapiliele Faupala was installed as King despite protests from some of the royal clans. As an overseas collectivity of France, it is governed under the French constitution of 28 September 1958, the head of state is President François Hollande of France as represented by the Administrator-Superior Michel Jeanjean. The President of the Territorial Assembly is Petelo Hanisi since 11 December 2013, the Council of the Territory consists of three kings and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly. The legislative branch consists of the unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblée territoriale of 20 seats, Wallis and Futuna elects one senator to the French Senate and one deputy to the French National Assembly. Justice is generally administered under French law by a tribunal of first instance in Mata-Utu, the Court of Appeal is in Nouméa, New CaledoniaWallis and Futuna – Ruins of the Talietumu fort
48. France – France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established. The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural, political, and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War, the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is also a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the FranksFrance – One of the Lascaux paintings: a horse – Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC
49. Tokelau – Tokelau is an island country in the southern Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls with a combined land area of 10 km2 and a population of approximately 1,400. Its capital rotates yearly between the three atolls, Tokelau lies north of the Samoan Islands, Swains Island being the nearest, east of Tuvalu, south of the Phoenix Islands, southwest of the more distant Line Islands, and northwest of the Cook Islands. Until 1976, the name was Tokelau Islands. Tokelau is a leader in energy, being the first 100% solar powered nation in the world. Tokelau is a free and democratic nation with elections every three years, all run as independents, there are no political parties in Tokelau. The most spoken language in Tokelau is Tokelauan, at 93. 5%, a dependent territory of New Zealand, it is sometimes referred to by its older colonial name, the Union Islands. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly designated Tokelau a non-self-governing territory, however, Tokelau is officially referred to as a nation by both the New Zealand government and the Tokelauan government. The basis of Tokelaus legislative, administrative and judicial systems is the Tokelau Islands Act 1948, in 1992, the head of government was established, who is elected every 3 years. The national anthem is God Save the Queen, nonetheless, Tokelau continues to decrease in population. The largest settlement in Tokelau is Fale, Tokelau has the smallest economy in the world and has a life expectancy of 69, comparable with other Oceanian island nations. The name Tokelau is a Polynesian word meaning north wind, the islands were named the Union Islands and Union Group by European explorers at an unknown time. Tokelau Islands was adopted as the name in 1946, and was contracted to Tokelau on 9 December 1976, Tokelau includes three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean between longitudes 171° and 173° W and between latitudes 8° and 10° S, about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand. They lie about 500 kilometres north of Samoa, the atolls are Atafu, Nukunonu, both in a group of islands once called the Duke of Clarence Group, and Fakaofo, once Bowditch Island. Their combined land area is 10.8 km2, the atolls each have a number of coral islands, where the villages are situated. The highest point of Tokelau is just 5 metres above sea level, there are no ports or harbours for large vessels, however, all three atolls have a jetty to and from which supplies and passengers are shipped. Tokelau lies in the Pacific tropical cyclone belt, Swains Island was claimed by the United States pursuant to the Guano Islands Act, as were the other three islands of Tokelau, which claims were ceded to Tokelau by treaty in 1979. This established a defined boundary between American Samoa and Tokelau. Tokelauans have proved reluctant to push their national identity in the political realmTokelau – Nukunonu Lagoon in Tokelau.
50. Pitcairn Islands – The four islands – Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno – are spread over several hundred miles of ocean and have a total land area of about 47 square kilometres. Only Pitcairn, the second-largest island that measures about 3.6 kilometres from east to west, is inhabited, the islands are inhabited mostly by descendants of nine Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians who accompanied them, an event that has been retold in many books and films. This history is apparent in the surnames of many of the islanders. With only about 50 permanent inhabitants, originating from four main families, although archaeologists believe that Polynesians were living on Pitcairn as late as the 15th century, the islands were uninhabited when they were rediscovered by Europeans. Ducie and Henderson Islands were discovered by Portuguese sailor Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, sailing for the Spanish Crown and he named them La Encarnación and San Juan Bautista, respectively. Pitcairn Island was sighted on 3 July 1767 by the crew of the British sloop HMS Swallow, the island was named after Midshipman Robert Pitcairn, a fifteen-year-old crew member who was the first to sight the island. Robert Pitcairn was a son of British Marine Major John Pitcairn, Carteret, who sailed without the newly invented marine chronometer, charted the island at 25°2′S 133°21′W, and although the latitude was reasonably accurate, the longitude was incorrect by about 3°. This made Pitcairn difficult to find, as highlighted by the failure of Captain James Cook to locate the island in July 1773. In 1790, nine of the mutineers from the Bounty, along with the native Tahitian men and women who were with them, settled on Pitcairn Islands, the wreck is still visible underwater in Bounty Bay, discovered in 1957 by National Geographic explorer Luis Marden. Although the settlers survived by farming and fishing, the period of settlement was marked by serious tensions among them. Alcoholism, murder, disease and other ills took the lives of most mutineers, John Adams and Ned Young turned to the scriptures, using the ships Bible as their guide for a new and peaceful society. Young eventually died of an asthmatic infection, after the rediscovery of Pitcairn, John Adams was granted amnesty for his part in the mutiny. Ducie Island was rediscovered in 1791 by Royal Navy Captain Edwards aboard HMS Pandora and he named it after Francis Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Baron Ducie, also a captain in the Royal Navy. A second ship appeared in 1801, but made no attempt to communicate with them, a third came sufficiently near to see their house, but did not try to send a boat on shore. Finally, the American sealing ship Topaz under Mayhew Folger became the first to visit the island, a report of Folgers discovery was forwarded to the Admiralty, mentioning the mutineers and giving a more precise location of the island, 25°2′S 130°0′W. However this was not known to Sir Thomas Staines, who commanded a Royal Navy flotilla of two ships found the island at 25°4′S 130°25′W on 17 September 1814. Staines sent a party ashore and wrote a report for the Admiralty. Henderson Island was rediscovered on 17 January 1819 by British Captain James Henderson of the British East India Company ship Hercules, Captain Henry King, sailing on the Elizabeth, landed on 2 March to find the kings colours already flyingPitcairn Islands – The mutineers turning Bligh and part of the officers and crew adrift from the Bounty, 29 April 1789
51. United Kingdom – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants, together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union. The United Kingdom is a monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952, other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the regions of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales, the last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time, Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there are fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom is a country and has the worlds fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. The UK is considered to have an economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index. It was the worlds first industrialised country and the worlds foremost power during the 19th, the UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946 and it has been a leading member state of the EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a referendum on the UKs membership of the EU resulted in a decision to leave. The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-governmentUnited Kingdom – Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, was erected around 2500 BC.